Did Kindle Gift Cards Outsell iTunes Gift Cards This Holiday?

It’s possible Kindle gift cards outperformed iTunes gift cards this holiday — if what people were searching for online is any indication.

According to Experian Hitwise, the top search query the week before Christmas that included some variation of the term “gift card” was for “kindle gift card.” Apple’s iTunes gift card was not even close, ranking as the eighth most searched-for term. In between were several more generic combinations, including American Express or Visa, or terms like “cheap gift cards.”

This holiday season, spending on gift cards was expected to hit $27.8 billion, a four-year high, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation.

The plastic versions of cash were the most requested items on people’s wish lists for the fifth year in a row. What was unusual was the increased number of shoppers who were willing to give them, shedding concerns about looking impersonal or lazy.

The average shopper was expected to spend $155.43 on gift cards, the highest amount since 2007.

Experian theorized that the Kindle gift card, in particular, was searched for so heavily because it made a practical companion gift to the record number of e-readers being purchased. It also said that the increase in gift card purchases drove higher traffic to retailers’ Web sites on Christmas Day, with visits up 31 percent year over year.

But what if you got a gift card you don’t want, or one for a restaurant or theater that doesn’t exist in your hometown?

There’s a secondary market for that.

Companies such as PlasticJungle.com, GiftCardRescue.com and CardPool.com will give you up to 90 percent of the voucher’s value — depending on the demand for the card. Likewise, you can also purchase gift cards for below face value on these sites.

Even better, if you didn’t get a Kindle gift card but wanted one, PlasticJungle and GiftCardRescue both have partnerships with Amazon that will give you an extra 5 percent on the value of the unwanted card if you swap it for an Amazon gift card instead of cash.

Whatever you do, experts suggest you don’t put the cards in a drawer and forget about them. The best deals are being offered now, so spend them.

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