Gift Cards by the Numbers

atkins bookshelf triviaIn the hilarious holiday classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold has been expecting a hefty year-end bonus. When the envelope finally arrives, he opens it and announces with great disappointment: “It’s a one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.” To add some optimism to this sad moment, his cousin Eddie quickly interjects: “Clark, that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.” Too bad, Griswold’s curmudgeonly boss didn’t think of sending him a gift card — like 93% of all Americans (to the tune of $100 billion annually!) who can’t be bothered spending time hunting for that perfect, personalized gift.

And let’s not even mention how many people never use their gift cards. In 2015 alone, almost $1 billion of gift cards went unused — you read that correctly: $1 billion! Great for retailers, but bad for consumers. Bah humbug! Many consumers do not realize that federal and state consumer protection laws provide such safeguards such as no expiration dates, no fees, and any card with a value of $10 (amount varies from state to state) or less must be redeemed for cash at the consumer’s request. So empty out your coat pockets, purses, backpacks, and drawers and go claim your billion dollars, America!

Bookshelf looks at gift cards by the numbers in America.

Amount consumers spend on gift cards each year: $100 billion+ (2016)
Amount consumers spent on gift cards in 2014: $32 billion
Amount of gift cards that went unused: $1 billion (2013); $750 million (2014); $973 million (2015)
People who admit to losing a gift card: 40%
Average amount consumers spend on gift cards annually: $213
Consumers who either receive of purchase a gift card: 93%
People who want to receive a gift card over other gifts: 58.8%
People who want to store their digital gift cards on their phones: 56%

Number of years that gift cards have been the most requested gift: 10
Consumers who spend more than the gift card’s value: 72%
Average amount consumers spend over the gift card value: 20%
Time period that recipients use the gift card: with the first 60 days
Age group that spends the most on gift cards: seniors (65 years old+)
Age group that spend the least on gift cards: young adults (18-24 years old)
Most popular category for gift cards: Restaurants (34.8%); department stores (34.4%); prepaid cards (22.7%); coffee shop (20.1%); entertainment (17.2%)
Where consumers purchase gift cards: 31% in gift card kiosk (grocery or convenience stores); 27% internet retailers; 27% at an actual store, theatre, or restaurant; 16% at the store, theatre, or restaurant’s website
Top retailers and restaurants that sell online gift cards: 97%

Read related posts: The Art of Giving Good Gifts
What Returns Cost Retailers

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Trivia
The Origin of the Name Scrooge
The Inspiration for Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Twas the Night Before Christmas
A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life
Best Quotes from A Christmas Carol
The Inspiration for Dickens’s A Christmas Carol
The Story Behind Scrooge
What is a First Edition of A Christmas Carol Worth?
The Story Behind “The Night Before Christmas”

For further reading:


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