Despite the struggles of brick-and-mortar retail, the purchase of physical gift cards has grown for three consecutive years, according to new survey data. Digital gift card purchases also have risen sharply this year.
First Data found that US consumers bought an average of 6.5 physical gift cards this year, up from 5.9 in 2016.
Meanwhile, the number of digital gift card purchases, which had been flat in the preceding years' surveys, rose to 6.1 per person, up from 4.0 the year before.
The First Data survey results align with CEB TowerGroup data from late 2016 showing steady incremental growth of gift card sales in the US.
According to a survey by Blackhawk Network published in May 2017, 83% of internet users had used a gift card (physical or digital) in the past year.