The mid-year gift card report is here!

Paytronix Holiday Gift Card Research Finds Sales, While Depressed, Peaked During Holiday Season

QSRs are clear winners, while FSRs take biggest hit during turbulent year

Newton, MA– January 11, 2021 – An early analysis of 2020 restaurant gift card sales by Paytronix Systems, Inc., the most advanced digital guest experience platform, found that while holiday card sales accounted for the same percentage of annual sales as previous years, overall card sales ended the year down 31.8% when compared with 2019. Per-card spending remained relatively consistent when compared with previous years.

Paytronix data shows that holiday sales– those that occurred during November and December – accounted for 45.8% of all restaurant gift card sales in 2020, and approximately 48.6% of all gift card spend. This is on par with the previous three years, during which holiday card sales accounted for an average of 46.3% of all annual gift card sales. 


Despite a nearly one-third decline in overall card sales, the average dollar amount loaded onto each card remained fairly consistent in 2020, indicating that guests maintained their spending power. Fine Dining restaurants fared exceptionally well in this regard, realizing a 7.7% increase in the average spend per gift card over the course of the year.  

Full Service Restaurants (FSRs), meanwhile, took the brunt of the losses in 2020. FSRs’ share of the market fell by more than 15% to account for just 26.3% of gift card sales across restaurant sectors. The bulk of those sales were recouped by Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs), which accounted for 66.5% of sales in 2020. The remaining two restaurant types – Fast Casual and Fine Dining – accounted for 4.5% and 2.7% of annual gift card sales, respectively.  

“Guests appear to have opted for either QSRs or Fine Dining over FSRs in 2020. QSRs have emerged as the big winner throughout the pandemic, so it’s no surprise to see them with strong gift card numbers. The Fine Dining category is interesting, because it suggests that people still crave a dining experience, either through high-quality food or in the hope that they can dine-in soon,” said Lee Barnes, head of Paytronix Data Insights. 

Even as sales were lower this year, traditional sales patterns continued to hold. The holiday season kicked off with Black Friday sales down 30.1% from previous years, then experienced a last-minute peak in the last few days leading up to Christmas.

The holiday sales analysis is a key component in the development of the Paytronix Annual Gift Card Sales Report, which will be available later this year. That Report offers an in-depth look into holiday gift card sales, sales by channel and service type, anticipated redemption and new insights on eGift cards. With the online ordering industry expanding, the Report also examines the impact of gift cards redeemed online.

Sign up in advance on the Paytronix website to receive the full report when it becomes available.


Following trends in closed-loop restaurant gift card sales, the Paytronix gift card sales research includes data from gift card sales on between November 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 and includes 192 brands.

Paytronix Systems, Inc.

Based in Newton, Massachusetts, 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. Through one-to-one engagement with more than 285 million guests via Order & Delivery, Loyalty, CRM, and Stored Value, Paytronix generates Big Data consumer insights that motivate increased visits and spend. For more information, visit


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