SOURCE: Plastic Jungle

Plastic Jungle

September 07, 2011 11:00 ET

Growing Secondary Gift Card Market Helping to Fuel Economic Activity

Plastic Jungle Reports Consumers Purchasing Staple Items Rather Than Luxuries This Summer

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 7, 2011) - New data released by Plastic Jungle, the web's largest secured gift card exchange, shows that the secondary gift card economy is continuing to realize substantial growth. From January through July 2011, Plastic Jungle has grown more than 250% over the same period a year earlier. Plastic Jungle's rapid expansion during calendar year 2010, when gift card value sold on the website exceeded $10 million, was an increase of more than 500% over 2009.

Merchant-issued -- or closed loop -- gift cards now represent approximately $90 billion of the U.S. economy, and an estimated $30 billion in gift cards are unredeemed at any given time. Plastic Jungle brings liquidity to the secondary gift card market by allowing consumers to buy gift cards at their favorite stores for savings up to 35%, sell unredeemed gift cards for up to 92% of the gift card value, or donate the value of unused cards to their favorite cause.

Consumers who buy discounted gift cards at Plastic Jungle are likely to spend an average of 30% more than the gift card's value when redeemed. With that in mind, Plastic Jungle has generated more than $30 million for the U.S. economy between January and the end of July 2011, up 330% over the same period last year. That's nearly $110 generated for the U.S. economy per minute. This substantial growth demonstrates the ability of the secondary gift card market to help fuel consumer spending. Transacting in more than 400 retail brands, Plastic Jungle has generated nearly $20 million in merchant sales in the same time period, an increase of nearly 400% over the same period last year.

"We are pleased to see the secondary gift card market spurring economic activity and contributing to an increase in merchant sales," said Bruce Bower, CEO of Plastic Jungle. "Particularly when consumers are tightening their belts, Plastic Jungle's marketplace is helping consumers stretch their dollars and get great deals." When consumers stack their discounted gift cards with other merchant sales, they can get even bigger savings.

From June through August 2011, as the economy continued to falter, consumers increasingly purchased discounted gift cards for staple items rather than luxury items. The most popular cards bought on the site were for gas, grocery and casual dining brands such as Exxon Mobile, Sam's Club, Rite Aid and Burger King.

In reaction to the economic uncertainty, consumers increasingly sold gift cards from higher end merchandise and daily luxury brands such as airline, hotel and high end retail merchants. Consumers who sell gift cards to Plastic Jungle can receive online balances to use at the millions of merchants that accept PayPal; Amazon.com Gift Cards; virtual currencies for online games and social networks; and more.

About Plastic Jungle
Plastic Jungle (www.plasticjungle.com) is the web's largest secured gift card exchange, giving consumers the choice and flexibility to convert their gift cards into other forms of spending power -- including online balances to use at the millions of merchants that accept PayPal; Amazon.com Gift Cards; credit on ChargeSmart to pay utility, car or mortgage bills; virtual currencies for online games and social networks; and more -- and to stretch their shopping dollars at their favorite merchants. Plastic Jungle's patent-pending marketplace and payment applications aim to safely unlock the estimated $30 billion in unredeemed gift cards trapped in the economy for the benefit of consumers and merchants alike. Based in San Jose, California, the company is privately held, with venture backing from Shasta Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Jafco Ventures, First Round Capital, Bay Partners, Harrison Metal and Western Technology Investment.

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