Feb 09, 2023

Holiday eCommerce Gift Card Sales Show Double-Digit Growth as Consumers Leverage Gift Cards to Combat Inflation

Post-holiday research from Blackhawk Network analyzes spending and industry trends; shows gift cards will be key marketing tool for merchants in 2023

PLEASANTON, Calif. – Feb 8, 2023 – Shoppers faced historically high costs this past holiday season, fueling sales of gift cards which consumers leveraged to stay on budget and adjust for inflation, according to new data1 from Blackhawk Network. The findings, based on consumer research and Blackhawk’s own U.S. sales data, showed another year of sustained growth in overall gift card sales, with double-digit increases in eCommerce and egift sales.

Increasing prices kept budgeting, deals and promotions top of mind for consumers, and made them even more acutely aware of where and how they spent at holiday. Nearly half of surveyed consumers (48%) reported that they did more holiday shopping online this year compared to last year and indicated saving money was the primary driver. Fifty-three percent of surveyed consumers did more online shopping because they found better deals and promotions and 36% of consumers reported online shopping to limit driving and save on gas. Six in ten surveyed consumers who purchased gift cards this holiday did so because it helped them more easily stick to a budget. Blackhawk sales data also showed that increases in the average value loaded onto gift cards over holiday were in line with inflation, suggesting gift-givers took rising costs into account when determining how much to gift.

“Gift cards have become a holiday mainstay for retailers and consumers, but our research also shows that innovations and shifts in consumer behavior have helped gift cards to also evolve into a gifting and payment option offering multiple benefits for merchants, shoppers and recipients,” said Jay Jaffin, chief marketing officer, Blackhawk Network. “From budgeting and leveraging promotions to using gift cards for self-use and seamless digital payments, gift card innovations are giving shoppers more options while providing meaningful experiences to recipients and helping to drive sustained growth for the industry. In turn, the increasing consumer demand has made gift cards a key marketing tool for retailers, not just at holiday, but year-round.”

Consumers surveyed received six gift cards this holiday on average, totaling about $200 in value. Nearly 8 in 10 surveyed consumers plan to spend more than the value of their gift cards, with consumers reporting they plan to spend on average $75 more than the value of the gift cards they received. Nearly a quarter of surveyed consumers (23%) who received a gift card also said that at least one gift card was for a merchant that they had never tried before, presenting an opportunity for brands and retailers to generate new customers. More than half of consumers surveyed (58%) also report that they plan to spend their gift cards in the first two months of the year, potentially providing a boost for retailers to kick off what could be a year of uncertainty.

About Blackhawk Network

Blackhawk Network delivers payment solutions through the prepaid products, technologies and network that connect brands and people. We collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends in branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. We reliably execute security-minded solutions worldwide. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments. Learn more at blackhawknetwork.com.

Blackhawk Network’s “2023 Post-Holiday Shopping” study is based on the findings of an internet-based survey conducted by Survey Monkey on behalf of Blackhawk Network between December 28–29, 2023. The sample size included 1,228 respondents ages 18+. Gift card growth findings are based on the 2021 and 2022 sales data from Blackhawk Network from over 50,000 merchant locations across the U.S.