Posted by Chuck on December 18, 2018
Gift Cards

Published on December 18th, 2018 | by Chuck


What are the most common Gift Card Brands sent during holiday season?

I was curious as to which gift cards are most commonly gifted during the holidays. A google search turned up some articles discussing the most popular gift card people want, of course that skews toward valuable gift cards like Amazon, Visa, and Walmart. But I was interested in finding out which gift cards people actually give the most often.

A good place to search is always to check the best sellers on Amazon. Here is the list of best selling gift cards sold on Amazon (affiliate links in this post). 

A big limitation here is that this list shows gift card brands available on Amazon. That discounts popular options like Walmart and Target gift cards. Still, Amazon does sell a huge selection of gift cards, including Visa gift cards, grocery store gift cards, restaurant gift cards, travel gift cards, department store gift cards, even Best Buy gift cards, so there is some interesting data there.

Here is the abridged list of the top 100 sellers:

  • 1-10) Amazon
  • 11) $25 Visa
  • 12) Amazon
  • 13) $50 Visa
  • 14-19) Amazon
  • 20) $25 Ulta
  • 21) Amazon
  • 22) $25 Sephora
  • 23) $25 Visa
  • 24-25) Amazon
  • 26) $25 Starbucks
  • 27-30) Amazon
  • 31) $25 iTunes
  • 32) Amazon
  • 33) $50 Ulta
  • 34-35) Amazon
  • 36) $200 Visa
  • 37) Amazon
  • 38) $50 Sephora
  • 39) $40 Starbucks
  • 40-41) Amazon
  • 42)  Starbucks
  • 43) $50 Lowe’s
  • 44-45) Amazon
  • 46) $25 AMC
  • 47) $25 iTunes
  • 48) Amazon
  • 49) $25 Darden
  • 50) $50 Gamestop
  • 51-53) Amazon
  • 54) $25 Texas Roadhouse
  • 55) $50 American Eagle
  • 56-66) Amazon
  • 67) $50 Texas Roadhouse
  • 68) $25 Regal
  • 69-71) Amazon
  • 72) $50 Kohl’s
  • 73-74) Amazon
  • 75) $25 Fandango
  • 76-80) Amazon
  • 81) $40 iTunes
  • 82) $50 iTunes
  • 83) Amazon
  • 84) $50 Whole Foods
  • 85) Amazon
  • 86) $50 Gap
  • 87) $50 Outback
  • 88) Amazon
  • 89) $25 Taco Bell
  • 90) Amazon
  • 91) $50 Cabela’s
  • 92) $50 Darden
  • 93) $25 Cabela’s
  • 94-97) Amazon
  • 98) $25 Olive Garden
  • 99-100) Amazon

Amazon gift cards are, without a doubt, an extremely popular brand to gift, but let’s discount those due to Amazon being the retailer here. It seems Ulta and Sephora are the most common, with Starbucks and iTunes coming up next, and then some restaurant gift cards in third place. Those seem to be the most commonly gifted cards, mostly in $25 or $50 denominations.

So in the end, my little research indicates that it boils down to a bunch of folks giving their wives/GF’s/daughters/relatives Ulta or Sephora gift cards, and friends/coworkers/bosses/parents giving Starbucks or iTunes gift cards.

Amazon’s Best Seller list updates hourly, and I’m sure it looks different other times of the year, but this is likely a good estimation of what gift card giving looks like during the holiday season. Let us know what you’ve experienced or if you’ve seen other popular options from gift cards not sold on Amazon.

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Interesting… it baffles me that the $25 VGC is so high on the list. Why people pay money to give someone money is beyond me.


I guess they want to give something ‘physical’ (vs a Paypal/Venmo/etc transfer), don’t write checks much or at all, and don’t know the person well enough to pick a retailer gift card.


Er, ever heard of sending a crisp $20 or $50 or $100? Kids are thrilled to get actually money they can spend on whatever they want. Giving gift cards is stupid and lazy and fraught with fraud.


Because you get points! Plus, my kids *love* paying with a credit card, especially the signing part, which sadly is going away. I only get them when I can get a net-zero (or more) cost on the CCs.


Just thinking out loud, but the perception might be it’s kind of tacky to give someone an envelope with cash, so now you’re buying a card and putting $25 in it. A gift card, you can just hand it to them or put it in an envelope and don’t have to purchase a card. Just a thought.


BTW, anyone looking to save money on greeting cards, check out Dollar Tree! Hallmark cards 2 for $1! 😮

Jason Smith
Jason Smith

Also, some banks will let you get the visa or mastercards with no fee; however, you can’t pay for it with a credit card.


Interesting question, well meaning attempt at an answer– and yet Amazon is despite its pr, not (yet) the sum total of gift giving. Not sure what Amazon’s self-list tells us, if anything. (sooo only 3 out of 10 of the top 100 are anything other than Amazon — and another third of the remaining 30 are visa and itunes…. big whoop. )

Surely there’s an industry source somewhere at some level that actually knows gift card volumes by brand — but even that would tell us very little (that’s reliable) about what gift cards are actually “gifted” — as opposed to bought, re-sold, and re-sold, aggregated, etc. How exactly would one come up with reliable stats for gift cards actually “given?” Despite the national fad with STEM & “useful” knowledge, sometimes you can’t use statistics to prove anything.


Lol STEM as a fad….first time I heard that.




Farming is the future!


Blackhawk knows. (They run the third-party gift card sales in hundreds of thousands of stores.) They’re only revealing general categories to the public, though.


i always end up with the question “how to accumulate Amazon GC balance in much discounted price?”


Chuck I am really looking forward to your list of least common gift cards given during the holidays 🙂

carl wilson
carl wilson

Shoney’s has got to be one of the least popular gift cards given, all year round 😉


Show how much you care this holiday season with a gift card from Sears, K-Mart, or Toys-R-Us.

Gift cards need to die. They become a nightmare if the retailer goes bankrupt, decides to change their policies (Lowe’s), or the card gets drained by someone else (PayPal Digital Gifts). There are very few protections for consumers. Retailers love it because they get an interest-free loan, and a good percentage go unused.


It kind of shows what a tiny drop in the bucket the MS gamer crowd is.


I suspect $10 Starbucks gift cards are one of the most popular, but too small a denomination to buy on Amazon and usually bought in a physical store. I’m a teacher and I always receive these.


I would imagine it wouldn’t matter if bought to MS or to gift since all land in the eventual hands of consumers who want them anyway?! Seems they are marketable & transacted regardless based on their popularity as a retailer (other than VISA/MC of course).

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