The average consumer spent $38 more than the value on their gift card, up $10 from 2016, according to the 2017 Prepaid Consumer Insights Study released by First Data. The study, which is based on the responses of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers, also found that 44% of consumers visit a store they would not have visited otherwise because of a gift card, and 53% are likely to visit a store more often as the result of receiving one.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for businesses to drive sales and build brand loyalty by implementing gift card strategies and solutions,” said Dom Morea, Senior Vice President, Head of Gift Solutions at First Data. “From employee rewards and customer service programs to social media promotions and marketing campaigns, gift cards are their own form of currency, offering convenient solutions for gift card purchasers and receivers alike.”


Physical Cards Still Reign Supreme, While Digital Cards Play Catch Up

First Data’s 2017 Prepaid Consumer Insights Study found that consumers purchased an average of 6.5 physical gift cards on an annual basis, steadily climbing from 5.9 in 2016, 5.5 in 2015, and 4.7 in 2014. While physical gift cards still dominate, the research showed that digital gift card popularity is on the rise. In the three prior years, the average number of digital gift cards purchased stayed at approximately 4.0 per consumer. This year, that number surged, and consumers purchased an average of 6.1 digital gift cards per person.

One trend worth watching is mobile gift card apps. This year, among all consumers who were aware of mobile gift card apps, 52% had used one, and millennials outpaced total respondents with 65% having used an app to purchase a gift card.


Consumers Prefer Shopping for Gift Cards at Gift Card “Malls”

The study also identified where consumers purchase gift cards. This year, nearly half – 47% – of consumers purchased a gift card at a gift card “mall” (i.e., places that sell many different types of gift cards for a number of different stores), surpassing purchases made in a physical retail stores for the first time (44%).


Generations Agree on Gift Card Incentives

Across all ages, 42% of respondents said their preferred incentive for purchasing a gift card was a discount dollar amount. With value top of mind, the next preferred incentive was a bonus gift card with the purchase of card (31%), followed by a free item with purchase (12%), and then a bonus amount added to the card (8%).

For more information about how businesses can drive sales, bring in new customers, and extend their reach using gift solutions, please visit