We already know that everybody loves gift cards – but not all gift cards are the same. Over the years, there have been quite a few gift cards that have become extremely popular – only to fall off in desirability.
Just like the rest of the world, the gift card market is always in a state of flux – new gift cards are always rising in popularity, and more specialized gift card are often relegated to lower popularity rankings.
But if you’re interested in the gift card market, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the trends in gift card popularity. Whether you’re a bargain-hunter looking for stores that sell discount gift cards, or a retailer looking to sell gift cards more effectively, it’s critical to understand which gift cards are the most popular – and why!
To help you get a better understanding of the state of the gift card market, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most popular gift cards on the market, based on a Wallethub survey! We’ll take a look at each one, and discuss the reasons that they’re so desirable in the current gift card market. Let’s get started!
10. eBay Gift Cards
This may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but eBay gift cards are actually very highly-desired gift items – and there are a variety of reasons for this.
First, eBay is one of the oldest and most reputable online stores out there – founded in 1995, eBay has offered a fantastic, flexible peer-to-peer marketplace that has earned a truly stellar reputation among consumers.
And trust is critical when it comes to selling gift cards. Consumers don’t buy gift cards to retailers they don’t trust, or retailers that are unreliable – it’s too risky. But because eBay has been so popular for so long, just about everyone is willing to buy a gift card from this online auction site.
The second reason is simple – eBay makes it easy to buy their gift cards. This may seem like a little thing, but it’s really important. Because PayPal can be linked to your eBay account and used to make both physical and digital eBay gift card purchases, eBay can easily sell gift cards of just about any value.
Finally, eBay offers an absolutely tremendous selection of items. eBay gift cards can be used for any item on the auction marketplace – and because users are constantly selling a gigantic variety of both new and used items, an eBay gift card ensures that the recipient will always be able to get an item that they’re interested in.
9. Netflix Gift Cards
This may not come as a shock – Netflix is the single most popular video streaming service in existence. Despite the rise of other options like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu Plus, Netflix is still king – it’s estimated that, during peak periods of downstream internet traffic, Netflix video traffic accounts for 37% of all bandwidth consumed.
In addition, over 51% of all internet-connected Americans have a Netflix subscription – so there are millions of Americans who are interested in buying and receiving Netflix gift cards.
Netflix gift cards offer an easy way to give the gift of entertainment to others, making them very popular gifts for friends, teachers, and family. And because the cost of a Netflix gift card is quite low compared to the entertainment value, they’re very highly sought after as gifts.
Netflix gift cards are also popular because they can be purchased in convenient locations like grocery stores and superstores – providing people who don’t have credit or debit cards with an easy way to access the Netflix service.
8. Google Play Store Gift Cards
While sales of apps have generally fallen over the last few years, mobile sales are still going strong – driven mostly by in-app purchases in games like Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and dozens of others. According to App Annie, nearly $35 million was spent on mobile apps in 2015, and 85% of this money was spent on in-app purchases in mobile games.
These apps are especially popular with younger children, which may explain why gift cards like Google Play Store gift cards are so popular. Most grocery stores and superstores sell gift cards to this digital marketplace, and parents can give their children a set amount of money for these in-app purchases, allowing them to monitor their children’s spending.
In addition, Google Play Store gift cards can be used to buy a huge variety of other media – such as movies, TV shows, and even eBooks. The flexibility of these gift cards makes them a fantastic choice, and one of the most popular gift cards on the market.
7. Starbucks Gift Cards
Starbucks Gift Cards are incredibly desirable gifts. In 2015, Starbucks broke a record for the most gift cards sold during the holiday season. Nearly 46 million Americans – 15% of the entire population – received a Starbucks gift card in 2015.
Much of the popularity of Starbucks gift cards can be traced to the Starbucks Rewards application. Starbucks has combined a loyalty program with handy gift-card management and purchasing software – and they sell gift cards directly through the application.
These gift cards can be easily managed, reloaded, and sent to others. The sheer convenience of buying gift cards from Starbucks is certainly a huge factor in their popularity.
Another reason Starbucks gift cards are popular is that they offer great value – while a $25 gift card to Target can only be used once, a $25 card to Starbucks can easily be used 4-5 times, depending on personal preferences – so it’s useful for longer, and a better choice for a lower-value gift card.
6. Target Gift Cards
One of the leading retail superstores in America, Target has recently been focusing on online sales – and their investment is paying off.
One of the reasons that Target gift cards are so popular is the seamless omnichannel functionality of Target gift cards. Unlike some competitors, Target offers a brilliant gift card redemption experience, both online and offline.
Gift cards that are purchased physically can be redeemed both at both brick-and-mortar stores, and online at Target.com – and the same goes for digital gift cards purchased online.
This emphasis on omnichannel gift cards has a variety of benefits. First, Target’s huge selection of online items makes it easy for consumers to shop – even if they aren’t located near a physical Target location.
Second, consumers trust gift cards from Target more – due to their ease of use and seamless redemption process. Finally, because it’s easy to purchase gift cards both in-person and online, Target benefits from the ability to sell gift cards to more customers.
5. Walmart Gift Cards
The primary reason that Walmart gift cards are so popular is convenience. Walmart has more than 5,000 stores nationwide – and it’s basically impossible to travel to a city or a town that’s more than a few miles from a Walmart superstore.
In addition, Walmart offers an absolutely gigantic selection of items – both in their stores, and on their newly redesigned online marketplace. This means that Walmart gift cards can be spent on just about anything – from groceries, to household goods, to luxury items like televisions and electronics.
Given the sheer popularity of Walmart stores, and the huge diversity of items that can be purchased at Walmart Supercenters, it’s no surprise that Walmart gift cards come in at #5 on our list of the most popular gift cards on the market.
4. American Express Gift Cards
American Express gift cards are the first “open-loop” gift card to be featured on this list. Unlike traditional “closed-loop” gift cards which can only be used at a specific retailer, gift cards issued by American Express and other credit card companies function in a way that’s much more similar to a debit or credit card.
The primary advantage of these gift cards is that they offer the flexibility of both cash and a gift card – unlike cash, American Express gift cards can be spent online, and at retailers that don’t accept cash. Yet, unlike closed-loop retail gift cards, an open-loop gift card can be spent at any retailer.
Because giving a gift card feels a bit more special than simply handing over some cash – and because American Express gift cards can be used online – they’re a very popular gift, and rank at #4 on our list.
3. iTunes Gift Cards
iTunes gift cards have hovered near the top of gift card rankings since their introduction in the early 2000s. Initially, sales of iTunes gift cards were driven by the online music sales functionality of the iTunes store, and were incredibly popular. The 2007 introduction of the iPhone and the App Store only further drove the growth in popularity of iTunes gift cards.
Today, it’s estimated that iTunes and the App Store are the second-largest source of Apple’s revenue – sitting only behind sales of the iPhone, iPad, and related products. Today, iTunes gift cards can be redeemed for music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and on the App Store – and can even be used to purchase a subscription to Apple Music.
The massive variety of purchasing options provided by iTunes gift cards – and the worldwide popularity of the iPhone – make iTunes gift cards one of the single most popular choices out there.
2. VISA Gift Card
VISA gift cards are quite similar to American Express gift cards – both of these open-loop gift cards offer similar benefits, blending the convenience of gift cards with the versatile spending power of cash.
There are two primary reasons that VISA gift cards are more popular than similar open-loop gift cards from American Express and Mastercard. First, VISA gift cards are older and more well-established – and that means that large grocery stores, department stores, and other retailers are likely to sell gift cards from VISA. This alone contributes to a vast majority of sales – the convenience and familiarity of these gift cards makes them very popular.
Second, many large corporations have begun using VISA gift cards as an alternative to paper checks when offering special promotions, rebates, and more. This has increased consumer familiarity with these cards, making them more popular among consumers.
Because VISA is such a well-established brand, and consumers are familiar with their gift card offerings, they’re the most popular open-loop gift card on our list, coming in at an impressive #2 overall!
1. Amazon Gift Card
Surprised? Probably not. Amazon is the single largest online retailer in existence – and they offer a tremendous variety of products, both from third-party sellers, and their own warehouses. No matter what you want, you can get it from Amazon – that’s basically a guarantee.
And over the last few years, Amazon has continued to grow dramatically, with services like Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Video, and even grocery delivery services in select areas around the world.
Because Amazon offers such a huge diversity of products, and is well-known as a reliable online retailer, Amazon gift cards have topped the popularity list for years. And as Amazon continues to expand their selection of products and services, we’re unlikely to see this trend change anytime soon.
So congratulations to Amazon – by managing to sell more gift cards than any other retailer on our list, they’ve truly earned their #1 ranking, and are likely to hold onto it for years to come!
Sell Gift Cards You Don’t Need At EJ Gift Cards Now – And Get Paid In Cash!
We hope you enjoyed our roundup of the most popular gift cards on the market, and our analysis as to why each card earned its position in the top 10.
But not all gift cards are as popular – or as useful – as these 10 cards. If you have a card that you don’t need – whether to a smaller retailer or a restaurant or one of our top 10 picks – you can sell gift cards for cash with EJ Gift Cards now!
EJ Gift Cards makes it incredibly simple to sell your unwanted gift cards. Simply visit our website, select your gift card from our list of accepted cards, and give us the details about your gift card.
Then, we’ll offer you an instant quote for your gift card. If you like what you see, accept the offer and you’ll be paid through PayPal in cash! It’s just that simple – and if you have any issues with our process, you can contact our customer support team!
So don’t let your unwanted gift cards go to waste. Sell gift cards on EJ Gift Cards for cash today!