To encourage consumers to dig their holiday gift cards out of their wallets and spend them as intended, National Use Your Gift Card Day is returning on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Gift cards are one of the most popular presents to give and receive, but a stunning $21 billion will go unspent this year, according to CreditCards.com, which found in a recent survey that 47% of U.S. adults have at least one unused gift card, voucher, or store credit.

“People are so busy after the holidays, it’s no wonder they lose track of the gift cards they receive,” said Tracy Tilson, Founder of the national shopping holiday. “That’s why we came up with National Use Your Gift Card Day. It’s a reminder to rescue those unused gift cards and spend them before they’re forgotten.”

Research by the National Retail Federation about the gift card market reveals:

  • Holiday spending on gift cards was expected to rise from $28.1 billion in 2021 to $28.6 billion in 2022.
  • Holiday shoppers in 2022 planned to purchase three to four gift cards each, spending an average of $51.47 per card ($165.87 per person).
  • Consumers were most likely to purchase a gift card for a restaurant (27%), department store (26%) or bank-issued gift card (25%), while 10% planned to purchase a card from a food delivery service such as DoorDash or Uber Eats.

“Gift cards are an important part of the holiday season and continue to be a popular item to give to family and friends,” said Katherine Cullen, senior director of industry and consumer insights for the National Retail Federation. “They provide a wonderful opportunity to support your favorite restaurant or retailer or treat yourself to a new shopping experience. Everyone deserves a little retail therapy after the holidays.”

The Jan. 21 holiday falls at the perfect time to capture consumers’ attention. According to a Pitney Bowes BOXpoll survey, 39% of consumers plan to cash in their cards by the end of January and 48% by the end of February. An additional 30% say they’ll save the cards until they’re needed — if they even remember they have them.

For information on the holiday, including an updated list of participating merchants and their promotions, visit www.UseYourGiftCard.com or email info@useyourgiftcard.com.