January 21st: National Use Your Gift Card Day Returns


To encourage consumers to dig their gift cards from wallets and drawers and spend them as intended, National Use Your Gift Card Day is making its return on Saturday, January 21.

Although gift cards are one of the most popular presents to give and receive, a stunning $21 billion will go unspent this year, according to Creditcards.com, which found in a recent survey that 47 percent of U.S. adults have at least one unused gift card, voucher or store credit.

“People are so busy after the holidays, it’s no wonder they lose track of the gift cards they receive,” says Tracy Tilson, founder of National Use Your Gift Card Day, which is held on the third Saturday of every January. “That’s why we came up with National Use Your Gift Card Day. It’s a reminder to rescue those unused gift cards and spend them before they’re forgotten.”

Research by the National Retail Federation (NRF) reveals these facts about the gift card market:

  • Holiday spending on gift cards was expected to rise from $28.1 billion in 2021 to $28.6 billion in 2022.
  • During the 2022 five-day Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend, gift cards were the third-most-popular item, after clothing and toys; they accounted for 27 percent of purchases.
  • Similar to 2021, holiday shoppers in 2022 planned to purchase three to four gift cards each, spending an average of $51.47 per card ($165.87 per person).
  • Consumers are most likely to purchase a gift card for a restaurant (27 percent), department store (26 percent) or bank-issued gift card (25 percent), while 10 percent plan to purchase a card from a food delivery service such as DoorDash or Uber Eats.

National Use Your Gift Card Day falls at the perfect time to capture consumers’ attention: According to a Pitney Bowes BOXpoll survey, more than one-third (39 percent) of consumers plan to cash in their cards by the end of January and half (48 percent) by the end of February. An additional 30 percent of consumers say they’ll save the cards until they’re needed – if they even remember they have them.

Retailers who become participating National Use Your Gift Card Day merchants receive a National Use Your Gift Card Day toolkit that provides logo files, social media templates, promotional ideas and more.