Gift Card Market Size

Bianca Peter, Research Analyst
Jan 27, 2017

wh-statistic-gift-card-market-sizeGift cards are now firmly entrenched as the most popular type of holiday present as well as a go-to gift for most other special occasions. They are also shedding their reputation as an impersonal present, thanks to increased customization and the rise of social gifting. But increased sales and changing consumer perceptions are only the tip of the iceberg as far as the future of the gift card market is concerned. From e-gift cards and mobile applications to the blurring of lines between gift cards and prepaid cards, it’s clear the gift card market is in the midst of significant changes.

You can use the information and statistics below to learn more about how we got here and where the gift card market is likely to head next.

Gift Card Sales Statistics

Gift Card Sales from 1999 to 2018

Year Dollar Amount in Billions Percent of Increase/Decrease (year to year comparison)
1999 $19 N/A
2000 N/A N/A
2001 $32 68% Increase From 1999
2002 $38 19%
2003 $45 18%
2004 $55 22%
2005 N/A N/A
2006 $83 51% Increase From 2004
2007 $97 17%
2008 $91 -6%
2009 $87 -4%
2010 $91 5%
2011 $99 9%
2012 $107 8%
2013 $118 10%
2014 $124 5%
2015 $130 6%
2016 (projected) $140 7%
2017 (projected) $149 6%
2018 (projected) $160 6%

*Note: Figures for 2015 and beyond are projections of U.S. gift card sales

 

Gift Card Sales from 1999 to 2018

 


Expectations for gift card sales in 2017:

  • $149 billion — 54% increase from 2007 (Source: CEB Tower Group)
  • E-gifting is growing fast and expected to reach a volume of 14 billion in 2017

Unused gift card statistics:

Gift Card Spillage By Year

Note: Gift card spillage has declined significantly (81%) since 2009 due to the passage of the Credit CARD Act in May of that year. The CARD Act prohibits gift card funds from expiring for five years from the date of issuance.

Source: CEB Tower Group

Back To Top

Gift Cards Purchase Statistics

Average Number of Gift Cards Purchased (2011)

Type of Consumer Average Number of Gift Cards Purchased Average Purchase Amount Per Card Average Dollar Amount Spent Annually
Budget Tamer 6.70 $43.36 $291.72
Card Enthusiasts 6.10 $44.87 $274.82
Helpful Husbands 4.60 $42.32 $194.56
Convenience Shoppers 4.00 $441.75 $167.41
Last Resort 3.30 $40.18 $131.45
TOTAL 5.00 $42.96 $213.02

2011 Average Number of Gift Cards Purchased by Consumer Type

 

Back To Top

 


Likelihood of Consumer Purchasing Gift Card

Year Yes No Total
2006 79.7% 20.3% 100%
2007 78.5% 21.5% 100%
2008 77.9% 22.1% 100%
2009 77.2% 22.8% 100%
2010 77.3% 22.7% 100%
2011 80.2% 19.8% 100%
2012 81.1% 18.9% 100%
2013 80.6% 19.4% 100%
2014 80.1% 19.9% 100%
2015 73.4% 26.6% 100%
Back To Top

 


Percent of Consumers Who Buy Gift Cards for Occasions

Occasion 2011 2012
Birthday 61% 60%
Christmas 48% 53%
No Special Occasion 19% 18%
Thank You Gift 12% 12%
Graduation 11% 11%
Baby Shower 7% 8%
Mother’s Day 8% 8%
Father’s Day 8% 7%
Anniversary 5% 6%
As a Prize or Incentive 6% 5%
Congratualtions 4% 5%
Going Away Gift 2% 2%
Easter 1% 1%
Back to School 1% 1%
Hanukkah 1% 1%
Other 6% 6%
Back To Top

 


Number of Gift Cards Consumers Expect to Purchase

Number of Gift Cards 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
1 Gift Card 13.0% 12.3% 13.5% 14.2% 14.8% 13.7% 13.8% 13.0% 14.6% 16.9%
2 Gift Cards 26.2% 27.4% 27.3% 28.6% 27.8% 27.8% 28.7% 26.2% 26.7% 28.6%
3 Gift Cards 19.8% 19.4% 20.1% 18.8% 20.1% 18.9% 18.6% 20.2% 19.6% 19.0%
4 Gift Cards 13.7% 13.8% 13.7% 14.8% 14.0% 14.6% 14.1% 13.8% 14.0% 13.4%
5 Gift Cards 8.4% 8.1% 7.7% 8.1% 7.2% 8.2% 7.6% 9.2% 7.7% 6.7%
6 or More Gift Cards 19.0% 18.9% 17.7% 15.5% 16.0% 16.7% 17.1% 16.5% 17.5% 15.4%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Average Number of Gift Cards 3.7 3.7 3.6 3.5 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.4
Back To Top

 


Gift Cards Consumers Expect to Purchase

Gift Card (by Merchant Type)* 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Book Store N/A N/A N/A 24.4% 23.7% 19.8% 20.8% 18.9% 16.8% 15.5%
Catalog N/A N/A N/A 2.7% 3.2% 3.3% 4.2% 4.6% 3.4% 3.0%
Coffee Shop N/A N/A N/A 13.0% 13.9% 15.9% 8.1% 19.6% 20.6% 20.1%
Craft Store N/A N/A N/A 2.7% 3.8% 3.7% 4.8% 4.9% 4.3% 4.2%
Department Store N/A N/A N/A 38.4% 39.2% 38.7% 39.1% 40.3% 37.7% 34.4%
Discount Store N/A N/A N/A 16.3% 14.7% 13.0% 14.2% 14.5% 11.7% 10.6%
Electronics Store N/A N/A N/A 18.8% 19.0% 19.8% 19.3% 20.1% 18.9% 15.8%
Entertainment (movies, etc.) N/A N/A N/A 15.5% 14.1% 18.2% 18.8% 18.7% 18.1% 17.2%
Gas Station N/A N/A N/A 9.3% 9.3% 11.1% 11.0% 12.0% 10.8% 9.0%
Grocery Store/Gasoline N/A N/A N/A 10.6% 10.8% 11.9% 12.6% 13.8% 12.2% 11.4%
Home Decor/Houseware Store N/A N/A N/A 3.3% 3.9% 4.3% 4.8% 4.5% 4.8% 4.0%
Home Improvement Store N/A N/A N/A 9.8% 8.9% 9.4% 9.7% 9.1% 9.2% 9.0%
Office Supply Store N/A N/A N/A 1.8% 2.2% 2.2% 2.6% 2.5% 2.0% 1.9%
Online Merchant N/A N/A N/A 5.3% 6.3% 8.9% 11.2% 12.7% 11.8% 13.6%
Restaurant N/A N/A N/A 33.4% 33.4% 33.8% 33.3% 34.2% 34.0% 34.8%
Salon/Spa N/A N/A N/A 5.6% 6.1% 5.7% 6.2% 5.9% 6.1% 5.6%
Shoe Store N/A N/A N/A 2.7% 3.6% 3.7% 4.7% 5.1% 3.7% 3.0%
Specialty Clothing Store N/A N/A N/A 7.2% 6.9% 7.6% 7.5% 7.9% 7.4% 6.4%
Sporting Goods Store N/A N/A N/A 5.4% 6.4% 6.3% 6.4% 6.2% 5.6% 6.0%
Visa/Master Card/American Express Gift Card N/A N/A N/A 22.1% 23.8% 24.4% 24.1% 24.4% 23.3% 22.7%
Other N/A N/A N/A 4.7% 4.6% 4.0% 3.4% 3.9% 4.4% 3.8%

*Note: The sum of the % totals may be greater than 100% because the respondents were allowed to select more than one answer

Back To Top

Holiday Gift Card Trends and Average Value of Gift Cards Purchased

Amount of Money Consumers Expect to Spend on Gift Cards (during holiday season)

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
$20 or less 7.5% 5.7% 6.8% 6.8% 6.7% 5.7% 6.5% 6.0% 5.3% 4.8%
$21 to $50 19.4% 18.5% 18.8% 20.9% 19.8% 18.9% 18.2% 18.1% 17.3% 21.4%
$51 to $75 11.4% 11.2% 11.2% 11.9% 11.1% 11.1% 10.2% 10.1% 9.7% 10.9%
$76 to $100 17.5% 17.8% 19.1% 17.8% 18.5% 18.3% 18.2% 17.6% 17.3% 17.2%
$101 to $150 13.4% 13.6% 13.5% 13.3% 13.8% 13.0% 13.2% 13.2% 13.4% 13.4%
$151 to $200 11.0% 12.0% 10.7% 11.0% 10.8% 11.4% 11.9% 11.5% 11.5% 11.2%
$201 to $300 9.1% 9.2% 8.9% 8.5% 8.3% 9.4% 8.8% 10.1% 10.0% 9.1%
$301 to $400 3.5% 4.0% 3.9% 3.6% 4.3% 4.5% 4.5% 4.4% 5.3% 4.2%
$401 to $500 2.7% 2.9% 3.0% 2.4% 2.7% 3.0% 3.4% 3.6% 3.8% 3.1%
$500 or more 4.3% 5.1% 4.1% 3.7% 4.1% 4.8% 4.9% 5.4% 6.3% 4.7%
Not buying gift cards 0.2% 0.1% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
TOTAL 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
AVERAGE  $146.2 $156.2 $147.3 $139.9 $145.6 $155.4 $156.9 $163.2 $172.7 $153.1
AVERAGE PER CARD $39.2 $42.0 $40.5 $39.8 $41.5 $43.2 $43.8 $45.2 $47.9 $44.8
TOTAL SPENT (IN BILLIONS) $24.8 $26.3 $24.9 $23.6 $24.8 $27.8 $28.8 $29.8 $31.7 $26.0
Back To Top

 


 

Gift Card Monthly Search Volume by Major Retailer

Retailer Search Volume
iTunes 22,200
Amazon 18,100
Walmart 12,100
Giant Eagle 8,100
Target 6,600
Best Buy 6,600
Starbucks 6,600
eBay 5,400
Apple 4,400
Home Depot 2,900
Kroger 2,400
Ikea 2,400
Costco 1,900
Lowes 1,900
McDonalds 1,900
Macys 1,900
Nordstrom 1,900
Gamestop 1,900
Subway 1,600
Shell 1,600
Safeway 1,300
 Back To Top

Average Value of Gift Cards Purchased

Gift Card (by Merchant Type) 2011 2012
Fine Dining Restaurant $62 $56
Department Store $52 $55
Food Supermarket or Grocery Store $49 $51
Specialty Retail Store $48 $47
Discount Store $46 $43
Gas Station or Convenience Store $44 $38
Fast Casual Restaurant $34 $35
Entertainment $33 $31
Drug Store $38 $26
Coffee Shop $23 $22
Fast Food Restaurant $20 $20
Other $58 (11%) $56 (15%)
 Back To Top

Factors Likely to Influence Consumers to/against Gift Cards Purchase

Factors Likely to Influence Consumers to Purchase

Influencing Factor 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Gift cards are easier and faster to buy than traditional gifts N/A N/A N/A N/A 17.8% 19.4% 21.1% 22.6% 25.6% 24.7%
Gift cards allow the recipient to select their own gift N/A N/A N/A N/A 45.8% 46.4% 44.7% 43.1% 51.8% 50.4%
Giving gift cards helps me stick to my holiday budget N/A N/A N/A N/A 4.6% 4.8% 4.7% 5.7% 3.8% 5.2%
The gift recipient does not have to worry about returning merchandise N/A N/A N/A N/A 6.1% 6.0% 6.6% 6.0% 5.0% 5.6%
It is easier to mail/ship a gift than a traditional gift to out-of-town gift recipients N/A N/A N/A N/A 6.7% 6.2% 5.8% 6.3% 6.0% 5.6%
Incentives for buying gift cards (e.g. free additional gift card for myself, discounts on fuel, etc.) N/A N/A N/A N/A 4.7% 5.5% 4.8% 4.9% 4.0% 4.4%
None of the above N/A N/A N/A N/A 14.2% 11.7% 12.3% 11.3% 3.8% 4.1%
Total N/A N/A N/A N/A 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
 Back To Top


Factors Likely to Influence Consumers Against Purchasing

Influencing Factor 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Gift cards seem impersonal N/A N/A N/A N/A 24.1% 26.1% 24.1% 25.3%
Concern that the card would expire or have added fees N/A N/A N/A N/A 18.9% 17.4% 15.8% 16.3%
Rather buy items on sale and give traditional gifts to stretch the dollar further N/A N/A N/A N/A 8.9% 9.1% 8.9% 9.7%
Worried the recipient will lose it or never spend it N/A N/A N/A N/A 5.9% 5.9% 6.4% 6.6%
Concerned that the retailer will go out of business N/A N/A N/A N/A 3.2% 2.9% 2.2% 2.1%
Not sure which company a person would want a card from N/A N/A N/A N/A 9.5% 9.7% 9.3% 9.4%
None of the above N/A N/A N/A N/A 29.6% 28.8% 33.3% 30.6%
Total N/A N/A N/A N/A 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
 Back To Top

 

Sources: Bain & Company, First Data, National Retail Federation, Tower Group, Venture Beat

 

Was this article helpful?


Awesome! Thanks for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback.