Gift Cards Survey: Traditional Cards Still More Popular Than Online

The holiday season is a big time for businesses that sell gift cards. And now, gift cards are also available in a variety of different formats, from traditional gift cards to online codes to mobile versions. According to, online gift cards are gaining popularity every year. So how many consumers are likely to buy gift cards this year? And what types are likely to be most popular? We asked 1,000 respondents about their thoughts on different types of holiday gifts.

gift cards

Gift Cards

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 46% of respondents said that they’re at least somewhat likely to purchase gift cards this holiday season. Walmart, Amazon and Target were the most popular businesses mentioned by gift card buyers. But others also mentioned Kohl’s, Best Buy, Starbucks, eBay, iTunes and Visa.

In addition, 84% of gift card buyers said they’re likely to purchase traditional gift cards. 30% are likely to purchase online gift cards. 12% are likely to purchase printable versions. And 6% plan on purchasing mobile gift cards.

Pros and Cons

In past years, 52% said they’ve purchased gift cards multiple times. 30% said they’ve bought gift cards once or twice. And just 18% said they’ve never bought gift cards before.

56% of gift card buyers said they like gift cards because they are easier than buying traditional gifts. Another 56% like the flexibility they offer. 24% think they’re less wasteful. And 18% like that they let you contribute to larger gifts. However, 62% think that gift cards are less personal than traditional gifts. And 33% don’t like that they have expiration dates.

Gift Buyers

Aside from gift cards, there are many other types of gifts that people can purchase throughout the holidays. 57% said that they plan on buying gifts other than gift cards this holiday season. Of those gift buyers, 62% also said they plan on buying gift cards this year.

Key Takeaways

Gift cards are likely to remain popular this holiday season. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t buying other gifts as well. For that reason, it could be worthwhile for businesses to offer gift card specials for people who buy a specific amount of other merchandise. In addition, traditional gift cards are still significantly more popular than online or other types of gift cards. And it could be due to the fact that people consider gift cards to be less personal than other types of gifts. And online ones that don’t even offer a tangible item for recipients to open might be seen as even less personal. So for businesses that want to promote online gift cards, offering some kind of tangible add-on like a small gift or a more personal experience could help convince people to make the leap into online or mobile versions.

You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.

Photo Credit: itunes gift card by 401(K) 2012 under CC BY-SA 2.0

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on November 25-December 1 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.