Gift Card Statistics (23 Interesting Facts, Trends + Statistics)

Gift cards are a popular item to purchase whether it’s for a birthday party, Christmas present, or just because, but are you looking for some interesting gift card statistics? 

Well, I’ve been researching gift card statistics and have found 23 interesting facts and trends that I thought I would share with you so keep reading to find out what I’ve discovered! 

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Key Gift Card Statistics In [currentyear]

  • 51% of shopper forget to redeem gift cards
  • 37% of those buying gift cards were millennials
  • There was a 31.8% drop in restaurant gift card sales during 2021
  • Only 17% of Americans want to receive a gift card during Christmas 
  • Social Media accounted for 46% of gift card purchases in 2021 
  • 73% buy gift cards for close family members
  • 59% spend more than what the value of the gift card is for 
  • Each year more than $3 billion is wasted on unused gift cards
  • Amazon gift cards are the most popular from any retail store
  • The global gift card market is expected to hit $584 billion on or before 2026

Are you looking for a full list of the 23 most interesting gift card statistics and have other questions? If so, continue reading below to learn all kinds of cool facts! 

1. 51% Forget To Redeem Their Gift Cards

An interesting fact about gift cards, over 51% of people forget to redeem their gift cards, with three main reasons behind forgetting to redeem them including:

The person rarely visits the store the gift card is for 

The gift card is lost or just forgotten about, which is especially true for digital gift cards since they sit in your email account 

The gift card isn’t worth enough to purchase items without spending additional money to make a purchase 

2. Millennials Account For 37% Of Gift Card Purchases 

Millennials are making the most gift card purchases out of every group with them accounting for 37% of all gift card purchases.

Similarly, Gen X isn’t too far behind accounting for 28% of all gift card purchases. 

3. In 2021 Restaurant Gift Card Purchases Dropped By 31.8%

While it shouldn’t come as a surprise, during 2021 the restaurant gift card purchases dropped a whopping 31.8% and have yet to fully recover. 

4. 17% Want Gift Cards For Christmas 

In a surprising fact, only 17% of those surveyed wanted a gift card for Christmas, with most people preferring to get cash over a gift card. 

5. 46% Of Gift Card Sales Were On Social Media in 2021 

Social media such as Facebook accounted for 46% of all gift card sales in 2021, which isn’t a huge surprise given more people were going digital and not inside of stores. 

6. 73% Purchase Gift Cards For Close Family Members 

When we think about who we purchase gift cards for, it might come as little shock that 73% of people purchase gift cards for close family members. 

7. 59% Exceed The Value of The Gift Card When Shopping 

While gift cards can cover some of the costs of the purchase, over 59% of people go over the value of the gift card when shopping. 

However, it’s not known if that’s because the value of the gift card was too low or because it led to impulse purchases at that particular store. 

8. $3 Billion Of Unused Gift Cards Are Wasted Every Year 

Forgotten about or lost gift cards factor into the fact that each year, more than $3 billion in unused gift cards go to waste!

9. Amazon Gift Cards Are The Most Popular 

Amazon has everything you could want whether you want clothing, electronics, household goods, makeup, or food, and that’s why Amazon gift cards are the most popular. 

However, Visa Gift Cards come in second place and Walmart is the third most popular gift card purchased by consumers. 

10. By 2026, The Global Gift Card Market Will Exceed $584 Billion 

Gift card purchases are only increasing as time goes on, and it’s expected that by 2026, the global gift card market will exceed $584 billion! 

Furthermore, as social media and other online sites integrate the option to purchase gift cards, we can assume this number is only going to increase even more in the years to come. 

11. 50% of All Gift Cards Are For Christmas 

11. 50% of All Gift Cards Are For Christmas 

Christmas is the time of year when gift cards are sold the most with over 50% of all gift card sales occurring during the Christmas or holiday season. 

12. 48% of Gift Cards Are For Birthdays 

Birthdays are the second-most popular occasion for purchasing gift cards, which makes sense when we think about family members and friends who we opt to purchase birthday gifts for. 

13. 20% Over Age 65 Would Prefer Gift Cards

20% of people surveyed over the age of 65 would prefer to receive gift cards, although it’s unknown why this age group likes to receive gift cards so much. 

14. Since 2020, 32% Have Purchased Digital Gift Cards Either More Often Or For The First Time 

Digital gift card buying has increased substantially since 2020, with 32% of people saying they have either purchased a digital gift card for the first time or have increased the frequency. 

15. 53% Want Gift Cards Stored On Their Phone 

Technology is becoming what we rely on to make purchases with Apple Pay and Google Pay becoming accepted at more stores across the country. 

Therefore, it’s not a shock that 53% of people would want an option to store their gift cards on their phones instead of having a physical gift card or email. 

16. People Most Often Purchase Gift Cards To Allow Recipient To Get What They Want 

The main reason why people purchase gift cards is so that the recipient of the gift card can purchase the items they want, which takes the guesswork out of buying presents. 

Furthermore, since the person can purchase what they want with the gift card, it means the gift is less likely to be returned or traded. 

17. 62% Between 18 and 34 Want To Receive Gift Cards Through Messaging or Social Media Apps 

Social media and messaging apps have added the ability to send and receive various gift cards, and 62% of people between ages 18 and 34 want to receive their gift cards this way! 

18. $245 Million Has Been Lost on Gift Card Scams Since 2018

As gift cards become more popular, especially in the digital age, gift card scams have been on the rise and it’s only going to get worse. 

For example, since 2018, more than $245 million has been lost because of gift card scams. 

19. 76% of People Use Gift Cards For Themselves 

People don’t just purchase gift cards for other people and over 76% of people will purchase a gift card to treat themselves and buy themselves something rather than someone else! 

However, when people purchase gift cards for themselves, they are likely to spend $4 on average more than if it was for someone else. 

20. One-Third Purchase Gift Cards For Specific Stores Due To Incentives 

Incentives drive gift card purchases, such as getting $10 back or added to the gift card value if you purchase more than one or one at a certain denomination. 

Therefore, one-third of those surveyed will make a gift card purchase at a specific store based on incentives or bonuses being offered for buying the gift card. 

21. 69% Feel Receiving Gift Cards From Their Employer Is A Reward 

There are employers that hand out gift cards for doing a good job or for great attendance, and 69% of those surveyed feel getting a gift card is a reward from their employer. 

22. Millennials Are Most Likely To Have Unused Gift Cards 

While millennials might purchase the most gift cards out of any age group, they are also the group that has the most unused gift cards out of everyone. 

However, it’s not known why this is happening, but it’s an interesting twist given the fact most millennials are into technology and use digital marketplaces often.

23. Store-Branded Or Closed-Loop Gift Cards Are The Most Popular 

Store-branded or closed-loop gift cards are the most popular types that are purchased because they do not have fees associated with them and typically do not have charges for being dormant. 

What Percentage Of Gift Cards Are Actually Used?

About 80% to 90% of gift cards are actually used, while between 10% and 20% of gift cards are unredeemed. 

Furthermore, about 6% of all gift cards are never used at all, but even this small amount is a lot of money added up over time that goes to waste! 

What Is The Most Common Gift Card?

Amazon is the most common gift card that is purchased since Amazon is one of the biggest e-commerce websites in the world and has anything you could ever want! 

Also, Visa gift cards, Walmart gift cards, Target gift cards, and Starbucks gift cards remain in high demand and round out the top five most common gift cards. 

How Big Is The Gift Card Industry? 

The gift card industry is huge and in 2021, it was worth $295.2 billion with open-loop gift card sales increasing by more than 31% in 2020. 

How Many Gift Cards Are Bought Each Year? 

It’s estimated that each shopper will buy five gift cards per year and 95% of households in America either purchase or receive a gift card during the year. 

Furthermore, the average shopper will spend $256 on gift card purchases every year. 

Are Online Gift Cards a Fad?

It doesn’t appear that online gift cards are a fad since the digital gift card industry continues to grow with it rising by more than 6.5% each year. 

Additionally, digital gift cards are now being implemented into social media sites and messaging apps, so there are more ways than ever before to send a digital gift card to friends and family! 

Also, more than 86% of people surveyed purchased a digital gift card in the current year compared to only 81% the year before. 

What Is The Difference Between A Closed-Loop and Open Loop Gift Card?

You’ve heard us talk about closed-loop gift cards, which are gift cards that can only be used at a particular store or merchant, such as Amazon, Walmart, Apple, or Starbucks. 

In contrast, open-loop gift cards can be used to make a purchase anywhere that gift card is accepted, which could include Visa gift cards, Mastercard gift cards, and the like. 

To learn more, you can see our related posts on if Amazon gift cards expire, list of gift cards at Walgreens, and what stores sell Amazon gift cards.


Some of the most interesting gift card statistics are that millennials are the group purchasing gift cards the most at 47%, but are the most likely to have unused gift cards themselves. 

Additionally, Amazon is the most popular gift card purchased, although Visa gift cards and Walmart gift cards are also popular and round out the top three spots. 

Also, 50% of all gift cards purchased are for Christmas and the holidays, but 48% of gift cards purchased are for birthdays. 


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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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