Millions of last-minute shoppers will have one thing on their minds Thursday: Coffee. Starbucks said Tuesday that it expects gift card sales to hit a record on Christmas Eve as customers scramble for stocking stuffers before the holiday hits.

Last year, Starbucks sold nearly 2.5 million gift cards on Dec. 24 across the U.S. and Canada. Starbucks cards have become so ubiquitous that in all, one in seven U.S. adults received one last holiday season, up from one in eight in 2013.

Gift Cards

Gift cards have been the most requested holiday gift for nine years running, according to the National Retail Federation. This year, nearly 59% of consumers said they’d like to receive one.

Starbucks found itself the target of two controversies this holiday season as some customers raised questions about the company’s values and holiday spirit — Starbucks’ holiday-themed red cups went viral in November when one customer posted on Facebook that the lack of a Christmas message on the cups was a slight against Christianity.

This month, people started pointing out on social media that cookies depicting a polar bear with a red scarf could be seen as a polar bear with a slit throat.

But, the incidents don’t seem to have affected Starbucks gift card sales.

What is a Gift Card?

A preloaded debit card allows the cardholder to use it for the purchase of goods or services. Some gift cards can only be used at select retailers, but some can be used anywhere that accepts major credit cards. Some gift cards may also be reloadable, which provides the cardholder with the ability to add funds to the card and continue using it.


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