CashStar Survey Reveals that Gift Cards Top Holiday Shopping Lists, but Are Often Last-Minute Purchases

Forty Percent of Shoppers Lose Plastic Gift Cards and 56 Percent Want a Smartphone Solution to Keep Track of Cards

CashStar, the industry-leading provider of prepaid commerce solutions, today announced the results of its annual survey of U.S. online shoppers. The survey revealed that 61 percent of online holiday shoppers knew as early as December 1 that they were going to purchase gift cards this season. Yet, despite knowing this, nearly 70 percent of shoppers admitted they would wait until the last minute to purchase them.

NRF’s annual Holiday Consumer Spending Survey revealed that gift cards are the most requested holiday gift item and have been for nine years running. However, as gift cards grow in popularity, so does the need to offer consumers a way to store and manage them better. Forty percent of online shoppers surveyed by CashStar admit they have lost plastic gift cards they received in the past, and more than half (56%) expressed interest in storing gift card value on their mobile phone (e.g. in mobile email, mobile wallet, etc.) so their card is always with them and can’t be easily lost.

“This data reinforces the importance of delivering rich, engaging and useful experiences for both the senders and the recipients of gift cards,” said CashStar President and CEO Ben Kaplan. “Even at the last minute, digital gifting allows givers to create highly personalized gifts with photos, messages and video. People who receive gift cards – both plastic and digital – now have more options than ever for storing their card value on their smartphones in mobile wallets, and in 2016 we expect more retailers to adopt this functionality.”

According to the survey, Northeast residents are the most likely to lose their gift cards – 49 percent compared with 33 percent of their Southeast counterparts. Nearly half (48%) of shoppers with small children in their households have lost gift cards. The age range most likely to lose cards are 25-34 year-olds (48%) and 18-24 year-olds (47%), while just 32 percent of those over 66 years of age have lost gift cards.

Given the ease at which plastic gift cards can be lost or left behind during a shopping trip, it is no surprise that more than half of those surveyed expressed interest in storing gift card value on their mobile phone. Residents of Western states expressed the most interest in mobile options (59%) and also are most interested in receiving digital gift cards versus plastic (22%). In addition, younger shoppers are far more interested in storing gift cards on their mobile phones: 74 percent of 18-24 year-olds vs. just 34 percent of those age 66 and older.

When it comes to purchasing gift cards, residents of the Northeast are most likely to wait until 1-2 days before the holiday to purchase their gift cards compared to other regions in the U.S. and are also the most likely to wait until the holiday itself to purchase gift cards for anyone on their list they may have forgotten. Generational data revealed that shoppers within the 45-54 year-old age range start their gift card shopping the earliest, while Millennials are the most likely age group to wait until 1-2 days prior to the holiday to purchase gift cards.

For additional information on this year’s survey, please contact

About CashStar
CashStar, the industry-leading provider of prepaid commerce solutions, enables the world’s top retailers and restaurants to grow and innovate in the rapidly evolving retail environment. CashStar provides best-in-class capabilities, revenue-optimizing risk management and a client success model based on aligned growth, to optimize digital gifting and prepaid commerce experiences. CashStar powers more than 300 leading brands worldwide including Best Buy, Brookstone, Coach, Crate & Barrel, Dell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Gap, lululemon athletica, Nine West, Office Depot, Petco, Pottery Barn, QVC, Sephora, Staples, Starbucks, The Cheesecake Factory, The Home Depot and Williams-Sonoma. To learn more, please visit, follow @CashStar or e-mail

Keri Bertolino
fama PR