Use of Gift Cards Shows Shoppers Still Flock to Brick and Mortar Retailers, According to ICSC Survey

The vast majority (77 percent) of consumers will redeem their gift
card in a store/restaurant and/or other physical location

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) released its Gift
Card Survey today, providing insight into gift card usage from the 2015
holiday season. According to the survey, 77 percent of consumers who
received gift cards will redeem them in a physical store. As consumers
seek to redeem their gift cards, 58 percent of millennials say they will
redeem them at stores or other physical locations, such as theaters and
restaurants, within shopping centers, followed by 52 percent of Gen-Xers
and 46 percent of baby boomers.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of all American adults received gift cards
during the holiday season, averaging $85.10 per person. For those who
received at least one gift card, the average amount was $128.20.

“It’s interesting to see that consumers across generations still value
the gift card and are eager to use it towards experiences offered at
shopping centers,” said Tom McGee, President and CEO, ICSC. “Gift cards
provide consumers with a practical and convenient way to shop across
multiple retail channels. They afford recipients flexibility to spend
money wherever, whenever they want – which has become increasingly
important in today’s age of convergence between the digital and physical

Millennials Quick to Redeem; Spend More

Of all age groups, millennials are the most likely to purchase
additional items when redeeming gift cards (64 percent). This includes
spending on additional items in the same store where they redeem their
gift card or pick up an online purchase in store, and even making
purchases at stores they did not have gift cards to redeem.
Additionally, 31 percent of millennials quickly redeemed their gift
cards, doing so by January 2016 compared to only 23 percent of baby
boomers. While all age groups received a gift card – millennials come
out on top, with 78 percent receiving at least one, compared to 65
percent of Gen-Xers and 59 percent of baby boomers.

Consumers are Leaning In on Experiences

When it comes to the type of gift cards received, consumers favor
opportunities that will provide them with an experience rather than a
tangible product. The most popular was for full-service restaurants (29
percent), beating out cards for discount stores (26 percent), general
Visa/ MasterCard/American Express (21 percent), coffee/fast food (19
percent), online only (18 percent) traditional department stores (14
percent), and electronics (10 percent).

Minding the Gender Gap

In terms of gender, little difference was observed between the number of
males and females who received gift cards (65 percent of males vs. 67
percent of females). However, there is a substantial gender gap when it
comes to the dollar amount received with adult males receiving an
average amount of $96.60 vs. $74.40 for adult females.

About the ICSC Gift Card Survey


The ICSC Gift Card Survey was conducted online by Opinion Research
Corporation on behalf of ICSC from February 25-28, 2016. The survey
represents a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1018 adults
18 years of age and older.

About ICSC

Founded in 1957, ICSC is the global trade association of the shopping
center industry. Its more than 70,000 members in over 100 countries
include shopping center owners, developers, managers, investors,
retailers, brokers, academics, and public officials. The shopping center
industry is essential to economic development and opportunity. They are
a significant job creator, driver of GDP, and critical revenue source
for the communities they serve through the generation of sales taxes and
the payment of property taxes. These taxes fund important municipal
services like firefighters, police officers, school services, and
infrastructure like roadways and parks. Shopping centers aren’t only
fiscal engines however; they are integral to the social fabric of their
communities by providing a central place to congregate with friends and
family, discuss community matters, and participate in and encourage
philanthropic endeavors. For more information about ICSC visit
and for the latest news from ICSC and the industry go to


Jesse Tron, 646-728-3814
Vice President, Communications