December 22, 2004, 12:00 AM

For unloading unwanted presents, some consumers are turning to the Internet

According to a survey sponsored by eBay, 64% of consumers admit to “re-gifting” unwanted holiday presents, while 20% say they’ve sold them online. EBay offers one alternative, along with web sites for the swapping, buying and selling of gift cards.

 

For the millions of Americans who will receive unwanted gifts this holiday, the Internet is offering a way to get rid of them. Auction site eBay.com is promoting itself as a venue for the sale of unwanted Christmas gifts by reporting the results of a consumer survey conducted on its behalf by Survey.com. According to the online consumer poll of more than 500 people, 64% admitted to “re-gifting,” or secretly giving the gifts they’ve received to others, while 20% say they’ve sold unwanted gifts online.

The online trend of re-selling gifts allows people to turn the unwanted gifts into cash, permitting them to buy something they really wanted or simply pay down holiday credit cards, eBay suggests. “Practically everybody gets gifts they don’t want, and it’s better to turn them into something useful than to throw them in a closet. By selling unwanted gifts online people can avoid potential re-gifting embarrassment,” says Jim Griffith, eBay’s “Dean of Education.”

Internet sites that allow consumers to swap or sell gift cards they’ve received offer an alternative for unloading or turning into cash gift cards they don’t plan to use. Cardavenue.com, for one, lets consumers swap gift cards, as well as buy or sell them at auction. It collects a 50-cent listing fee and 6.25% of the value of the card traded or sold. To complete transactions on the site, users must be registered PayPal users.

Cardavenue.com president Bob Butler says the site brings value to consumers by allowing them to trade or sell cards they aren’t going to use. It also brings value to retailers by maximizing card redemption, he contends, citing a study from Stored Value Systems earlier this year that found 75% of teenagers and 79% of adults who redeem gift cards spend more than the face value of gift cards they receive.

The National Retail Federation forecasts that online and offline, consumers will spend more than $17 billion on gift cards this year, about 0.5% more than last year.

 

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