Starbucks Will Probably Sell an Insane Amount of Gift Cards on Christmas Eve

This little tidbit may not be surprising, but it’s still a little mind-blowing: Guess how many gift cards Starbucks sold on Christmas Eve last year? If you answered, “An unfathomably large amount roughly equivalent to the population of the state of New Mexico, you would be absolutely right. According to the Chicago Tribune, Starbucks has a lot of procrastinators to thank; in 2013, the chain sold over two million gift cards on Christmas Eve. And hey, guess what? Although we don’t have an exact number right now, they’re expecting to sell even more this year: Said Vice President of Cards (which sounds like a wonderfully bizarre, Alice in Wonderland-esque job title out of context) Ryan Records, “One in every eight American adults received a Starbucks Card last holiday season, and we’re well on track for another record performance in Starbucks card sales.”

That’s a lot of coffee.

Here, let’s examine the figures a little more closely. According to the Tribune’s data, here’s what Starbucks gift cards look like by the numbers during the holiday season:

  • Two million plus: The number of Starbucks gift cards sold on Christmas Eve in the U.S. and Canada in 2013.
  • 1,500: The number of Starbucks cards sold per minute on Christmas Eve in the U.S. and Canada in 2013.
  • 13: The number of years ago the Starbucks gift card was launched.
  • 20 billion: The amount in dollars that has been loaded onto Starbucks gift cards since their inception.
  • 4 billion: The amount in dollars loaded onto Starbucks gift cards over the past year.
  • 100: The number of gift card designs offered by Starbucks.

Gift cards of any sort are usually pretty popular around the holiday season, but as Eater points out, Starbucks does tend to go a little… well, bigger with them than most. Last year, they released 1,000 gift cards made out of rose gold that apparently sold out (at $450 a pop) in literally seconds; furthermore, the whole “win free Starbucks ‘for life’” campaign that’s currently going on isn’t the only trick they’ve tried in 2014: There are also sterling silver cards priced at $200. They’re still available on the Starbucks website, so head on over there if you think a silver ‘Bux card is something you or someone you love just can’t live without.

Some people are very firmly anti-gift card; many feel they’re impersonal, or that they would rather just receive cash. But although I can’t say a rose gold gift card valued at $450 is ever something I’ve wanted, I’m actually rather pro-gift card. Personally, if I’m gifted straight cash, I feel like I need to put it towards something “useful”: Rent, utilities, groceries, savings. Not that it’s not appreciated — as is the case with many relatively young adults dealing with a terrible economy, every little bit helps. But with gift cards, I know that I’m allowed to spend the funds on something fun — a luxury I might not otherwise allow myself, like a few new books, a dress I’ve been eyeing, or a couple of overpriced, awful for me, yet utterly delicious espresso drinks. And if I’m gifting a card myself, I try to make sure it’s for a retailer I know will appeal specifically to the person on the receiving end. Who says a gift card has to be an impersonal or generic gift?

Is anyone else curious how many Gingerbread Lattes two million Starbucks gift cards could purchase? BRB — dreaming of gingerbread-scented gloriousness…

Image: Giphy