Starbucks: 37M Gift Cards For The Holidays

Starbucks, which for the moment is still the reigning king of U.S. mobile payments, also turns out to be one of the kings of holiday shopping time. The company said on its Twitter feed last week that “1 in 7 Americans received a Starbucks gift card this holiday season, up from 1 in 8 in 2013.”

Just how many gift cards that means wasn’t clear from the tweet. One card for every seven U.S. residents would be almost 46 million, as Fortune reported, while BI Intelligence calculated that one card for every seven U.S. adults would be 35 million. But Bloomberg actually asked the company, which said it sold 37 million gift cards in the U.S. between Nov. 3-Dec. 25.

That’s a major chunk of the 663 million gift cards estimated by the National Retail Federation to be sold in the U.S. during the 2014 holiday period.

A Starbucks spokeswoman told Fortune that nearly 2.5 million of the holiday Starbucks cards were activated on Christmas Eve alone, suggesting the coffee chain benefits greatly from those doing last-minute gift shopping.

And more than $1.1 billion was loaded onto Starbucks cards in the U.S. and Canada throughout the holiday season. That’s almost 7 percent of the $16.4 billion in revenue that Starbucks generated worldwide in its most recent fiscal year. The only thing that makes that slightly less impressive is the fact that more than 30 percent of payments made in U.S. Starbucks stores are made through the company’s gift or loyalty payments systems — split about evenly between plastic cards and mobile apps.


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