Shoppers Plan to Spend Nearly Half of Holiday Budgets on Gift Cards According to 2022 Blackhawk Network Holiday Forecast

Report forecasts 18% increase in holiday gift card spending driven by Gen Z

PLEASANTON, Calif.--()--As shoppers navigate rising costs this year, a new holiday forecast from Blackhawk Network, a leader in global branded payments, found consumers plan to spend nearly half (46%) of their holiday budget on gift cards—an economically resilient and top gifting option for 2022. The report also found that despite tightening budgets, consumers plan to spend more overall this holiday season, but will look to stretch the value of their holiday dollars by increasingly seeking out deals and promotions.

“With the cost-of-living increases and inflation challenges facing Americans this year, shoppers are looking to get more out of their holiday dollar, which is changing consumer behavior,” said Jay Jaffin, chief marketing officer, Blackhawk Network. “Our research found that about half of consumers’ holiday shopping will happen between now and Black Friday/Cyber Monday as people look for promotions and try to spread out their holiday purchases. There will be widespread deal-seeking behaviors, and hybrid in-store/online shopping will be prominent—likely as an additional strategy to find the best prices. This year, it’s vital for retailers to have a solid cross-channel strategy to meet consumer demands early and ensure plans span the entire length of the holiday shopping season.”

To better understand the retail landscape headed into the critical 2022 holiday season, the research commissioned by Blackhawk Network1 surveyed American consumers to examine how shoppers plan to change their behaviors this year. Key findings from the research include:

Despite tight budgets, consumers plan to increase holiday spending

For the second consecutive year, shoppers anticipate they will spend more during the holiday season. Surveyed consumers plan an overall 8% increase in gift spending this year, largely driven by Gen Z. Significantly more than any other generation, Gen Z respondents plan to increase year-over-year gift spend by 28%. Gift card sales are expected to see an even greater lift, with overall shoppers expected to spend 18% more on gift cards this year compared to last year, and Gen Z shoppers planning to increase gift card purchases by 57%.

Gift cards are a popular and economically resilient option because they give gift-givers the flexibility to load whatever funds fit their budget and are consistently the most requested gift year after year2. Forty-three percent of consumers surveyed reported that gift cards are most thoughtful when they can choose where they want to spend it. Among the top options this year that offer more choice are a suite of multi-brand cards that pull popular brands together across top-selling categories onto a themed gift card. A majority of surveyed shoppers said they are particularly interested in multi-brand gift cards (71%) or a gift card that centers around a certain theme (62%).

Deals are decking the halls this year

Many people may be planning on increasing their spending this holiday, but they are also shifting their shopping habits. Fifty-eight percent of Americans surveyed report that they plan to change their shopping behavior and are especially interested in using discounts and promotions to offset rising costs. More than half (51%) of surveyed shoppers say they are using coupons and more than 40% of shoppers report using promotions and discounts more often for all purchases.

The holidays are starting even earlier this year

November is still a key month for holiday shopping, but many shoppers are planning to start even earlier this year. Thirty-seven percent of surveyed consumers plan to start shopping before November with more than 10% reporting they started their holiday shopping before September. The top reasons for early holiday shopping include budgeting holiday spend (42%), concerns about items being out-of-stock (38%) and wanting to take advantage of deals and savings (37%). Interestingly, brands and retailers are largely the cause of an earlier start to the holiday season as nearly half of surveyed consumers (46%) said their signal to start holiday shopping is when brands and retailers announce sales and promotions.

For more findings and insights into how to have a successful holiday shopping season, download the 2022 Holiday Gifting Report.

About Blackhawk Network

Blackhawk Network delivers payment solutions through the prepaid products, technologies and network that connect brands and people. We collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends in branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. We reliably execute security-minded solutions worldwide. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments. Learn more at

1 “2022 Holiday Gifting Report” was an online study conducted by Leger on behalf of Blackhawk Network in August 2022. The sample size included 2,001 respondents ages 18+.

2 “October Consumer Holiday Survey” is based on a survey of 7,921 consumers conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics on behalf of the National Retail Federation between October 1 and 10, 2021.


Courtney Brunkow
(303) 717-9575


Courtney Brunkow
(303) 717-9575