Gift cards are as popular as ever to use as presents or incentives. But giving out a piece of plastic can seem impersonal. So, companies are dressing up the gift with new packaging.
Beyond the gift itself, consumers are seeking out pouches, bags and tins to store the cards to enhance the overall gift-giving experience.
“Gift cards as a category has seen tremendous growth,” said Eric Child, president, Seastone, a specialty gift card package manufacturer. “But consumers are faced with the dilemma, how do you give somebody a piece of plastic? People need a way to dress it up, personalize and make it feel more like a gift.”
Gift card packaging can include anything from a small bag, purse, plush or wood item. Holidays, like Christmas and Mother’s Day, are the most popular. But there’s been a growing trend for packages themed to back-to-school, Child said.
Seastone recently signed a licensing deal with United Media to design, manufacture and distribute Peanuts-branded, holiday-themed gift card packages at retail. The packaging “brings more attention to the program,” Child said.
Most gift card packaging ranges from 99 cents to $3.99 per item.
Gift cards are a big business. Sales are expected to hit $97 billion this year, according to Bigresearch. In 2006, Seastone shipped over 50 million gift card packages. That number is expected to more than double in 2007, Child estimated.