Friday, January 05, 2007

Buying Gift Cards

Over at the Freakonomics blog, there's the normal cyptic preview of their upcoming NY Times Magazine piece, including a link to some background research. Included in that is an excel spreadsheet with recent ebay auctions in which gift cards were sold (.xls), which I found fascinating. Some stats:
  • The average gift card included (there are 100), sold for a total cost (price + shipping) equal to 87.2% of the face value of the gift card. (The average card had a $200 value, though it varies greatly by store.)
  • Of course, there's quite a range there as well. The least successful sale (62.1%) was for a $2.09 Macy's card. (There's also a $436 Pottery Barn card that went at 64.2%, so it's not just a small number thing.)
  • Four cards went for more than the face value of the card. The "winners" are a $25 Old Navy card that went for a total cost of $26, and a $50 Wal-Mart card that went for $52. Two others went at 100%
  • There's very little correlation (.09) between the feedback of the seller and the percentage of face value that the card went for, and also very little correlation (-.06) between the size of the card and the percentage of face value it sold at, though bigger cards did tend to fetch a lower %.

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