I bet you don’t think about gift cards as much as we do here at Moola.
From all this research, I’ve stumbled upon some things about gift cards that kind of blew my mind. These are things that I found interesting, concerning, or just made me go…huh.
There’s also a little bit of history thrown in here too, because haven’t you always wondered where the first gift card came from?
No? Just me? Alright, fair enough.
Here are 20 gift card facts you probably didn’t know.
That’s darn near 100% of people, showing just how ubiquitous gift cards are in North American society.
Can confirm, I also received an Amazon gift card in 2019.
Their popularity comes from how easy they are to give (it’s all digital), and the flexibility they offer the recipient. Whether you want a dog dryer or dill pickle lip balm, you can find it on Amazon.
Say what you will about giving gift cards as gifts. When the holidays roll around, everyone’s stoked to get a gift card.
That’s why its been the number one requested gift for a decade.
Considering people buy on average 4 cards per person, that’s about $53 a gift card. I know I wouldn’t mind getting a $53 gift card for Christmas.
Do you spend more or less money when you buy a gift card instead of a gift?
On the one hand, gift cards can help you stick to a budget (e.g. $20 per gift) so you don’t get carried away.
On the other hand, a cute $10 coffee cup makes for a more appropriate gift than a $10 gift card. Either way, turns out we spend over 1/3 of our holiday budget on gift cards. Go figure.
Despite Amazon taking the cake for the number one gift card spot, restaurant and dining out is the most popular gift card category.
I would say because they’re universal – everyone likes a restaurant, no matter what your age or gender.
Say, I wish I knew where I could get deals and bonuses on restaurant gift cards right on my phone.
Oh yeah, Moola has a ton! You should probably go check out the restaurant brands in Moola right now.
At first glance, I didn’t really understand this one. Not going to lie, a gift card would not be my number one choice for a gift for my Mom.
Then I thought about it, and I remembered how many spa and pedicure gift certificates I gave my mom over the years.
Now I get it.
That means that almost 3 out of every 4 birthday gifts is a gift card.
Is it lazy gift giving? Or are you giving them exactly what they want?
Chances are, you’ve gotten a gift card you didn’t know what to do with.
Mine was to a yarn and bead shop I’d never heard of.
Still, I used it. And if you’re one of the 33.3% of people not using your free money, you should definitely use it or, at the very least, give it to someone who will.
Speaking of unused gift cards, an estimated $3 billion dollars in gift cards went unused last year.
This really only benefits the retailer by giving them free money. So seriously, spend your gift cards people.
Probably because they have a pretty solid rewards program.
A free bakery item for every $25 you spend? Looks like there’s going to be a lot of lemon pound cake in my future.
12. Chipotle, Starbucks, and Barnes and Noble collected nearly $100 million last year from unredeemed gift cards
In case you still aren’t blown away by the amount of gift card money that gets wasted every year, check out this statistic.
Between these three brands alone (who all have very popular gift card programs by the way), they made $99 million from unredeemed gift cards.
That’s free money for them and wasted guacamole for you.
Here’s another Starbucks fact for you: if Starbucks were a bank, it would be in the top 10% because of its assets.
That’s largely because of its gift cards.
I’ll admit I’m personally contributing to $19.76 to that stack.
If that sounds like a lot of money, it is.
Digital gift cards are the next big thing, fuelled largely by Millennials and Gen Z. Everything’s becoming digital these days, and gift cards are no exception.
Turns out, we’ve got a few good reasons why you need online gift cards in your life.
3 out of 4 people walk into a store and realize that it probably won’t cover the cost of what they actually want to buy.
Or 3 out of 4 people are left with $4.03 on their gift card and need to spend a few extra bucks to get what they really want.
I am usually one of those 3 people, in both situations.
It was called the NM Express card and it was an absolute disaster. They promoted the card “sparingly” and unfortunately, it was a bit of a flop.
It was available in amounts between $10 and $1,000 and you had to call a toll-free number to check the balance of the card.
Turns out the idea of buying stored value cards to a single store was still a bit too much to wrap your head around in 1994.
Blockbuster was the second store to try their hands at gift cards, and they were far more successful in their endeavors.
They tested the concept out regionally before rolling it out across the country in January of 1996.
And in 1997, they released this beauty of a commercial for their gift cards.
Gift cards have stood the test of time. Unfortunately, Blockbuster has not.
Finally, in 2001, Starbucks came out with the first reloadable gift card. Before then, gift cards could only be used once before being discarded.
Starbucks revolutionized the game with their gift cards that could be used over and over again. All of a sudden, it was like they were exclusive membership cards as opposed to just gift cards.
We all know how great things have been for Starbucks gift cards since then. I guess they were on to something.
These are gift cards for places like McDonald’s, Chipotle, and you guessed it, Starbucks.
Quick-service gift cards are easy to spend, and you don’t need to change your lifestyle much to use them. You also usually don’t have to spend much more than the value of the card, making them an appealing choice.
So next time you’re thinking twice about buying your brother a McDonald’s gift card, remember he’ll probably use it quicker.
Would a list of facts and statistics really be complete without an arbitrary comparison between men and women?
Turns out, men spend slightly more on gift cards than women, $162.01 and $144.62 respectively. That’s only about a $20 difference which, according to most averages, won’t even cover the cost of one gift card.
And the age that’s spending the most on gift cards? Grandma and Grandpa of course, spending on average $186.44 on gift cards every year.
We love our grandparents.
Do you feel smarter yet?
There you have it, 20 facts and statistics about gift cards you probably didn’t know. 21 if you count that little bonus at the end.
Maybe I’ve inspired you to take a deeper dive in to the world of gift cards. Maybe you want to read everything you can about these underrated little gems.
Here you can read all about how you can save more money with gift cards.
Or you can check out the benefits of shopping with gift cards (as opposed to regular cash or credit).
And as always, leave a comment if you have a super juicy statistic you want to share!