SOURCE: Plastic Jungle

Plastic Jungle

January 20, 2011 11:00 ET

Secondary Gift Card Economy Sees Significant Growth in 2010

Plastic Jungle Reports Exponential Surge in Holiday Business and Consumer Trends Toward Electronic Payouts

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - January 20, 2011) - New data released today reveals that as the gift card economy continues to grow, consumers are increasingly looking to buy and sell previously-issued gift cards. The data, released by Plastic Jungle, the web's largest secured gift card exchange, shows that consumers are now using secondary gift card marketplaces more than ever to extend their purchasing power and receive extra value at their favorite merchants.

Merchant-issued -- or closed loop -- gift cards now represent $90 billion of the U.S. economy. An estimated $30 billion in gift cards are unredeemed at any given time. Plastic Jungle helps consumers get the most value out of gift cards by allowing them to sell unredeemed gift cards for up to 92% of the gift card value, buy gift cards at their favorite stores for savings up to 30%, or donate the value of their unused cards to their favorite cause. Plastic Jungle has also enabled users to exchange gift cards for payment value which can be used at the millions of merchants that accept PayPal and for virtual currency which can be used at thousands of online games on social networks, such as Facebook.

During the 2010 calendar year, Plastic Jungle reports that gift card value sold on the website exceeded $10 million, an increase of 5 times over 2009.

"We are pleased to see that users are beginning to fully realize the extra value potential in gift cards," said Bruce Bower, CEO of Plastic Jungle. "This holiday season was a perfect example of the growing popularity in buying and selling gift cards, and we know we helped Plastic Jungle users stretch their holiday dollars further." During the 2010 holiday season, Plastic Jungle saw huge upticks in traffic and delivered nearly 6 times the gift card sales volume over the same period in 2009. Additionally, registered users nearly doubled in Q4 2010.

Plastic Jungle's innovations have also sparked an increased interest in alternative payouts, and especially in electronic payouts. Plastic Jungle's newly launched PayPal application on the Plastic Jungle website allows customers to sell their gift cards and to have funds quickly transferred into their PayPal account. In the two weeks following the December 23 launch, nearly one third of Plastic Jungle's payout volume was processed into users' PayPal accounts.

"Third-party developers like Plastic Jungle have truly harnessed the possibilities for payments innovation, and we're pleased that PayPal users are responding enthusiastically to the application on the Plastic Jungle website," said Damon Hougland, PayPal's senior director of PayPal X. "We look forward to seeing even more PayPal users benefit and recapture the money often left idle in their gift cards."

During the same two week period following the PayPal application launch, Plastic Jungle users took advantage of additional electronic payout options on the website; the share of Amazon.com Gift Card payout transactions jumped by nearly 30 percent.

For the 2010 calendar year, gift cards for big-box and department stores were the most transacted. Walmart proved to be the most popular card, followed by Home Depot, Target, Macy's and iTunes. During the 2010 holiday season, Walmart was again the most popular card, followed by Macy's, Sears, iTunes and Home Depot. Electronic representations of gift cards -- or eCodes -- represented more than 20 percent of total Plastic Jungle sales during the holiday season.

Plastic Jungle improves efficiency in the merchant issued gift cards market by redistributing gift cards to their highest and best use, taking gift cards from less productive consumers and selling them to a merchant's most enthusiastic customer set.

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 cash, online balances to use for purchases at the millions of merchants that accept PayPal, Facebook Credits, 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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