Millennials have been blamed for killing cereal, cable TV, and so many other things, but what if they’re really killing gift cards?
Bankrate.com has discovered that 51% of U.S. adults forget to use gift cards, vouchers, and store credits, to the tune of $15.3 billion. That’s an average per-person value of $116. Among gift-card delinquents, 56% are millennials with an average per-person value of $139, versus 52% of baby boomers ($113), 47% of Gen Xers ($112), and 46% of Gen Zers ($81).
But millennials aren’t the biggest cohort planning to spend those suckers. Baby boomers are No. 1 on that list, with 63% saying they planned to utilize their outstanding gift cards, vouchers, and store credits, followed by Gen Xers at 54%. Millennials come in at 42% and Gen Zers at 32%.
Inside a dim office secured by a sensor lock, eight young men in yarmulkes sit before computer screens sifting through tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of gift cards. Toiling under a latticed ceiling, the workers some in their late teens field orders to buy pre-owned cards online, fetching each meticulously catalogued item from the company’s man-size vault, where at least $3 million worth wait for new owners at any given time.
Once assembled, orders are carried to a shipping and receiving room beneath the vault chamber, where another group of skullcapped employees mails them out. Newly acquired gift cards are scanned to check their value, catalogued and bar-coded for easy search. “You’ve got to find that exact card, and you’ve got to find it quickly,” says Elliot Bohm, CEO and co-founder of CardCash.com , a company in Lakewood, N.J. that grossed $56 million last year buying and reselling the gift cards that nobody wanted.