The restaurant industry sold 6% more gift cards during the 2021 holiday season compared to 2019, and 57% more than 2020, according to a Paytronix study.

Overall, there was a 43% increase in the number of cards sold, when comparing the 2021 holiday season (Nov. 1 through Dec. 24) to the 2020 season, according to a press release.

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 even higher 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.

“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,” Paytronix CEO Andrew Robbins said in the release. “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. We 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 omicron during the last few weeks of the season.”

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