Blackhawk Network Survey Reveals How Consumers Can Get the Most from Gift Cards

PLEASANTON, Calif. – Gift cards are a go-to gift giving option and have been the most requested gift item nine years in a row according to the National Retail Federation, but sometimes people receive gift cards for a retailer that they don’t frequent and the card goes unused. In fact, according to a Blackhawk Network survey, 51 percent of consumers currently have unused gift cards. Many of these shoppers (79 percent) say they have unused gift cards because they either forget about them or received cards for a retailer, restaurant or other merchant that they don’t frequent.

The 2015 U.S. survey of more than 1,100 consumers examined gift card buying and usage behaviors, including their knowledge and acceptance of gift card exchanges—online marketplaces, mobile apps or in-store locations that allow consumers to sell gift cards receiving cash or certain gift cards as tender and/or buy gift cards at a discount.

“Our survey results show that consumer interest in adoption of gift card exchanges is on the rise, and consumers are migrating to using more transparent, established exchange sites,” said Teri Llach, chief marketing officer at Blackhawk Network, a pioneer of prepaid gift cards, payments tools and rewards delivered via a robust and convenient network. “We believe that exchanges can ultimately drive both the usage of and demand for gift cards.”

Blackhawk Network’s gift card exchange services provide a more convenient and transparent process to buy and sell gift cards wherever consumers prefer—online, via mobile apps and in-store. Consumers selling gift cards are paid for a card that would have gone unused, and consumers who buy gift cards do so at a discount, which ultimately helps drive brand loyalty and a positive customer experience. Blackhawk Network enables these exchange services for partners via APIs and directly for consumers at

“Our survey finds that gift card exchanges are a popular new trend to get deals,” Llach says.


Findings from the Blackhawk Network survey revealed:

  • Of those with unused gift cards, 97 percent had up to 10 unused gift cards currently.
  • Consumer awareness and usage of gift card exchanges is still maturing, and there is room for further adoption.
    • – Thirty-eight percent of consumers surveyed are aware of gift card exchanges.
    • – When consumers learn about gift card exchanges, 55 percent say they would use a gift card exchange site to buy or sell gift cards, and 78 percent would buy discounted gift cards for self-use.
  • The majority of consumers are interested in being able to use an in-store gift card exchange, in addition to digital gift card exchanges (online or via mobile app).
  • Purchasing a gift card via a gift card exchange can enhance consumers’ perceptions of a brand. Furthermore, exchanges provide opportunities for shoppers to try out a new brand.
    • – Ninety-one percent of consumers say they would feel the same or better about the brand if they purchased their cards from a gift card exchange.
    • – Ninety-one percent also said they would purchase cards from retailers and merchants they already frequent. Consumers also said they would try new merchants as a result of buying the gift card through an exchange.
  • The majority of consumers (91 percent) surveyed said they would prefer to use a gift card exchange versus a platform such as Craigslist to buy and sell gift cards.
  • Consumers would use gift card exchanges as a way to save money. Of the consumers who actively engage in deal-finding behaviors such as clipping coupons, seeking out sales and submitting rebates:
    • – Sixty-five percent would consider using a gift card exchange to buy gift cards at a discount before a major shopping occasion.
    • – Sixty-eight percent would use gift card exchanges as a cost-savings method to purchase gift cards for their own use at favorite stores, restaurants, etc.
    • – Sixty-six percent would add selling and buying gift cards from exchange sites to their regular deal-finding behaviors.

To access the full infographic detailing the gift card exchange research, click here.

Blackhawk Network’s gift card exchange services help people conveniently and easily sell the cards they have and purchase the brands they love. For more information, visit

Interest in #giftcard exchanges is growing; @Blackhawk survey shows how consumers can get the most from gift cards

About Blackhawk’s Exchange Survey
Blackhawk’s Exchange Survey is an Internet-based survey conducted by Blackhawk Network in September 2015. The sample size included 1,100 American respondents.

About Cardpool
Cardpool, Inc., a Blackhawk Network, Inc. company, is a leading gift card exchange company where customers can buy discounted gift cards or sell gift cards for cash. Cardpool verifies the balance of each of its gift cards and offers a Cardpool Purchase Guarantee; see for terms and conditions. Cardpool also helps retailers provide their shoppers with these exchange services in their own physical stores or on retailer-branded sites. Cardpool provides a turn-key solution driving commerce for its partners, and retailers may integrate with the exchange services by using Cardpool’s proprietary APIs. Headquartered in San Francisco, California; visit Cardpool at

About Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAWK) is a leading prepaid and payments global company, which supports the program management and distribution of gift cards, prepaid telecom products and financial service products in a number of different retail, digital and incentive channels. Blackhawk’s digital platform supports prepaid across a network of digital distribution partners including retailers, financial service providers, and mobile wallets. For more information, please visit and

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