Gift Cards Ring Up Strong Sales at Starbucks

SEATTLE (The Seattle Times/TNS) -

Starbucks gift cards filled U.S. gift baskets at an unprecedented rate this year-end shopping season, the company said Monday.

One in seven Americans got a Starbucks gift card in November and December, up from one in eight in the previous year, the company said in a tweet. That’s about 45 million cards — a number that’s significant because the Seattle coffee giant relies on these to drive up customer loyalty, and to get an advance payment on future revenue.

About $1.1 billion was loaded on Starbucks cards in the U.S. and Canada through Dec. 25, according to spokesman Jim Olson.

Close to 2.5 million cards were activated on Dec. 24 alone, a record number, he said.

Gift cards also play a major role in Starbucks’ drive to enroll customers in its rewards program and encourage them to use the company’s increasingly popular mobile-payment apps. Starbucks says that those customers who are part of the program buy far more Starbucks goodies than the average customer.