Here are Some Interesting Prepaid Card and Gift Card Statistics

gift card statistics

Statistically speaking, gift card statistics are quite interesting. The most important gift card statistic to know, however, is that people love to receive gift cards; especially during the holiday season. There are always those who feel that the gifting of a gift card implies that someone is not important enough to rate a thoughtful gift or that they were forgotten about until the last minute. However, this is simply not the case (for me, anyway). When I receive a gift card, I don’t care if you forgot about me or you did not want to try and venture a guess as to what I might actually like before shopping. When I receive a gift card, I’m excited that I get to pick out something for myself that I will 100 percent absolutely and positively love. It’s that simple; I shop, and I appreciate when others contribute to my shopping addiction enjoyment.

Gift card statistics, though, might still surprise you. When people take the time to do studies and things of that nature, what they find is always a bit surprising. As far as gift cards are concerned, there are some things people like a bit more than others. We’re here to tell you all that you need to know about gift cards and what they entail before you go out and start shopping for them this holiday season. For one, are you worried that presenting a gift card to someone on your Christmas list this holiday season might result in some sort of anger or resentment, or a private thought that you don’t find that person to be very worthy of actual shopping? Fear not; according to gift card statistics, nearly 60% of all gift recipients prefer a gift card to any other type of gift this holiday season.

gift card chart

Do you feel better now, knowing that so many people are happy to have gift cards as gifts during the holiday season?

If you are among the number of people hoping to receive gift cards this holiday season, you are in luck. It seems that nearly 75% of all Americans will purchase at least one gift card throughout the holiday season, with many purchasing more than one. In fact, it seems that many people want to purchase more than one gift card this holiday season. Only 17% of shoppers state that they will purchase one gift card according to statistics, while a staggering 28% will buy three gift cards. As many as 15% of people will buy more than six gift cards for the people on their holiday shopping list.

gift cards people will purchase

Furthermore, any holiday shoppers thinking that it’s just a bad idea to buy gift cards because everyone else will purchase ‘real’ gifts can rest assured that they are not alone. But why? Why do so many Americans want to purchase gift cards throughout the holiday season? According to national gift card statistics, the answer is very simple; more than half of all shoppers state that giving gift cards to their friends, family and coworkers is their way of showing they care enough to allow someone else to choose something that they really want. Surprisingly, however, only 5% of shoppers pick up gift cards because they are easier to ship to loved ones far away – I would have thought this gift card statistic was much higher seeing as how all of our friends and family who live across the country get gift cards solely because I can mail them from home without worrying about boxing up large packages and making a trip to the post office.

Other reasons so many people purchase gift card throughout the holiday include not worrying that the recipient of their gift will return their items for something else, and because they were able to purchase gift cards using rewards of some kind. Hey – there is not one thing wrong with that. Another surprising gift card statistic is that only 5% of holiday shoppers buy gift cards as a means of sticking to a budget. With so many people budgeting so much for the holidays, it would seem as if more people would buy a card and stick to a budget that way, but it seems that’s not the primary reason so many shoppers are gift card fanatics.

Just how much gift card should you get or can you expect to receive from those gifting them to you? According to gift card statistics, the vast majority of gift cards purchased are for amounts between $21 and $50 – a grand total of 21% of people choose this denomination when buying gift cards. However, there are some other number that might just surprise you.

4.8% of shoppers purchase gift cards $20 or less

21.4% of shoppers purchase gift cards $21 to $50

10.9% of shoppers purchase gift cards $51 to $75

17.2% of shoppers purchase gift cards $76 to $100

13.4% of shoppers purchase gift cards $101 to $150

11.2% of shoppers purchase gift cards $151 to $200

9.1% of shoppers purchase gift cards $201 to $300

4.2% of shoppers purchase gift cards $301 to $400

3.1% of shoppers purchase gift cards $401 to $500

4.7% of shoppers purchase gift cards $500 and up

What this shows us is that holiday shoppers are often more generous than we think they might be, with the lowest percentage of gift cards purchased being under $20 and over $300. According to gift card statistics, we have men to thank for the higher denomination gift cards. They’re often more likely to spend around $160 on gift cards to a woman’s $144 average, making them the more generous shoppers. Of course, one could argue that more women spend time choosing personal gifts and less time picking up a gift card, which then makes the women look a bit more generous with their time and money.

The average amount that a shopper spends per gift card is now $44. In 2014, the average amount shoppers spend was just over $47 per card, which means people are spending less on gift card denominations or more on other types of gifts.


How Much Do We Spend?

Now that we know who is buying our gift cards, how much do Americans spend on gift cards all together? In 2014, Americans spent $124 billion on gift cards. This year, the big sales are expected to go into the digital or e-gift card route. It’s even easier than ever to purchase gift cards now that shoppers do not even need to leave their homes to do it. There is just something so satisfying about spending money on a gift card for someone else when you’re on the couch in your robe after your morning shower, coffee in hand and no road rage from fighting off mall parking lot traffic. Last year, digital gift cards comprised more than 67% of all gift card sales, and that number is expected to increase significantly as this holiday season wears on.

One big problem with gift cards, though, is spillage. What is spillage? It is the amount of money we leave on cards because we don’t want to spend more than the card value. It might be a few dollars here or there, but it’s nearly $1 billion worth of all gift cards when a national average is taken. That means there is $1 billion worth of gift card remnants out there; that’s a lot of money. For many, however, they can take their gift cards once the balance has fallen below a certain point and cash them out.

Eleven states allow consumers to cash out remnant balances on closed loop cards. The minimum balances required before such a request can be made are noted.
California less than $10
Colorado $5 or less
Massachusetts 10 percent of face value
Maine less than $5
Oregon less than $5
New Jersey less than $5 (if the original value was more than $5)
Montana less than $5 (if the original value was more than $5)
Rhode Island less than $1
Texas $2.50 (if the original value was more than $5)
Vermont less than $1
Washington less than $5
Some of these rules may also apply to some open loop cards, so check your local laws. Source: The Retail Gift Card Association, September 2015

With so many gift card statistics now available to us to see and use, and so much relief that we can give gift cards on a more acceptable level these days, we need to know one more thing; where do people want to use their gift cards? It’s easy if we know someone loves a particular store or restaurant. For instance, my family knows that I’ll take a Lowes gift card or a Nordstrom gift card any day of the week – add to that Sephora and Starbucks and I’m a happy camper. These are probably the four places I go more than any other every week, and I’ll happily spend someone else’s money at these locations.

It seems that many gift card recipients agree with me, too, as they prefer to have gift cards that allow them to shop and dine. However, there is a certain demographic that might take a prepaid card that’s general purpose (for example, a Visa or American Express prepaid card) over a retail gift card. The people most likely to want to have a prepaid card over a retail gift card include renters, married couples, those who live on an income of less than $25,000 per year and those under the age of 50. That does not seem to narrow things down overly much, does it?

first snip

second snip

These prepaid cards are very popular among this demographic because they are available for use in ways that retail gift cards are not. With so many Americans struggling to make ends meet much of the time, a prepaid card that allows them to spend their gift of things such as utilities and other household expenses is quite welcome. While some older people do use this type of prepaid card, it is the younger generation that gets the most use of this type of deal. They like to use it for their own personal reasons, many citing that they use these prepaid cards as a way of paying their bills, keeping on their budget and avoiding expensive overdraft fees with their financial institution.

prepaid card information

prepaid card

If you want to know more about gift card statistics and who it is that is using these types of cards, you might want to check out some of the graphs below. Each one was compiled after extensive research from prior years, and there is new information that will be researched and developed once this holiday season ends and the new gift card statistics and prepaid card statistics for 2015 are announced.


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