Digital guest experience platform Paytronix Systems Inc. released a preliminary analysis of restaurant holiday gift card sales, which suggests a return to normal for some brands and predicts a strong start to 2022.
Early indicators show this season finishing slightly ahead of 2019, the last year before the pandemic; but when looking one step deeper, the data suggests a large divide between winners and losers.
Overall, Paytronix numbers indicate a 43% increase in the number of cards sold, when comparing the 2021 holiday season (Nov. 1 through Dec. 24) to the 2020 season. When compared with 2019, restaurants sold 6% more cards overall.
In terms of total value added to cards, 2021 numbers were 57% ahead of those in 2020 and 4.7% larger than in 2019. Numbers were more even when looking at the average amount loaded. Consumers in 2021 loaded an average of $35.34 compared with $32.03 in 2020 and $35.84 in 2019.
The sales numbers exceed the early indications shown when Paytronix examined Black Friday restaurant gift card sales.
“It’s clear that the restaurant industry is starting to recover from the pandemic, but the nature of that recovery will continue to reveal itself as we take a deeper look at the numbers,” said Paytronix CEO Andrew Robbins. “When we look at the median vs. mean sales, we see a divergence, suggesting that some restaurants and restaurant types are getting the bulk of the gains.”
Black Friday Dining Surge
Robbins added that Paytronix also saw an initial surge in fine dining sales on Black Friday that could point to a consumer desire to return to in-person dining. But that early sales spark could have been derailed by the emergence of the COVID-19 omicron variant during the last few weeks of the season.
The gift card sales data points to a strong start to 2022. A survey from the National Restaurant Association found that 62% of consumers hoped to receive a restaurant gift card as a holiday gift, and 24% of respondents said they would spend those cards as soon as possible.
This holiday gift card sales analysis is part of a larger analysis that Paytronix will publish in 2022. The research will supplement the Paytronix Annual Gift Card Sales Report: 2021, which surveys brands about their annual gift card sales over the course of the year.
Paytronix offers an in-depth look into holiday gift card sales, sales by channel and service type, anticipated redemption, and new insights on e-gift cards. With the online ordering industry expanding, the report also examines the impact of gift cards redeemed online.
Paytronix analyzed the anonymous aggregate gift card sales for 277 merchants from Nov. 1, 2021, through Dec. 24, 2021, and includes data from those same merchants covering the 2019, 2020 and 2021 holiday seasons.
Based in Newton, Mass., Paytronix is a provider of SaaS customer experience management (CXM) solutions for restaurants and convenience stores. Through its innovative software design and integrations with more than 30 widely used point-of-sale systems, Paytronix empowers more than 500 brands across 30,000 locations, giving them the flexibility to deliver unique, revenue-enhancing guest experiences.