Restaurant Gift Card Use Trends Up

Restaurant Gift Card Use Trends Up

Gift card season is officially upon us. And though the majority of Winter holiday shoppers are focused on gift cards for top retailers, it’s important not to overlook the growing use of gift cards to popular restaurants and coffeehouses.

In the recent report Eating Trends: Restaurant Use (published 11/2019), Packaged Facts states that between 2011 and 2019, the share of adults who buy gift cards overall has declined by five percentage points, to 39%. However, purchase of gift cards specifically for restaurants or coffeehouses is up by three percentage points, to 20%. Usage has steadily increased each year since 2011.  As a result, growth in use of restaurant gift cards, much like growth in the use of restaurant coupons, is outperforming overall market trends.

In the report, Packaged Facts goes on to reveal that the highest share of restaurant gift card buyers, or 9% of adults, have spent less than $50 in gift cards for restaurants or coffeehouses in the past 12 months. At the other end of the spectrum, only 1% of adults spent $250 or more. 

Use of restaurant gift cards, as a very discretionary expense, also skews to highly educated and highly affluent adults. U.S. adult consumers with a college or graduate degree are 40% more likely than the average adult consumer to use restaurant gift cards. Similarly, adults living in households with an income of $150K or more are 33% more likely than average to do the same.