In February, couples around the world plan for how to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In December, friends and families look for the perfect Christmas gift. While chocolate and candy are time-tested testaments of affection, gift card purchases have become a popular choice among gift givers.

In fact, 53% of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. are interested in giving gift subscriptions during the holiday season, while 51% of users are enthusiastic about receiving one. Gift subscriptions serve as a potent tool for nurturing subscriber relationships, boosting subscriber acquisition, and expanding recurring revenue opportunities.

Is gift card time-to-redemption important in subscriptions?

Definitely. Knowing how quickly recipients are likely to redeem their cards can help subscription businesses manage their inventory, identify when peak traffic loads may occur, and plan ahead for other operational responses.

Recurly completed a study on gift card redemptions to better understand gift card statistics and performance. We were able to identify an interesting trend among redeemed gift cards, in terms of how quickly giftees redeem their cards.

When are gift cards usually redeemed?

Of all gift cards that are redeemed by the giftee, over 90% of them have a “time to redeem” of one month or less. “Time to redeem” is how much time has passed between the date of purchase by the gift giver and the date of redemption by the giftee. In fact, the bulk of redemptions occur in the first week after purchase. 

Recurly gift cards table


A higher rate of redemption means that more people will try your subscription product or service. Since we know that some percentage of these people will choose to become paying subscribers, efforts on your part to encourage redemption should increase customer acquisition. So encourage everyone who gets a gift card to use it–and use it in the first week.

How can subscription businesses support gift card redemption

Make sure the process to redeem is easy and straightforward. For example, do your communications and your website make it obvious where and how the recipient should redeem their gift card? If not, they may get frustrated and give up and may never return to try again, leaving you with a bunch of unredeemed gift cards. 

Some best practices for an improved user experience are:

  • Optimize the email language: Make sure the redemption link is prominent and easy to find. Make sure you include it in any reminder emails as well.

  • Send reminder emails: You should also email the recipient to remind them to redeem if they have not yet done so. Email the purchaser as well as they may be able to reach out to encourage redemption.

  • Optimize your website: Include an easy-to-find redemption link on your website, especially after holiday or major gift-giving periods or campaigns, and reinforce it with a link in the site’s header or footer. For new customers, make sure it’s clear in the checkout flow where to enter gift card information. If you have an FAQ page, include instructions there too.

  • Optimize the redemption process: Make sure the process to enter a gift code at checkout is simple and straightforward with minimal requests for non-essential information.

  • Troubleshooting: Include contact information for customer service in case the recipient has an issue they can’t resolve on their own.

Get more insights and a powerful promotional toolkit

From physical gift cards to digital gift cards, subscriptions provide an excellent and low-cost way to support the acquisition of new subscribers—allowing the “giftee” to try the product at no cost to themselves while the subscription business still receives revenue from the purchaser of the gift plan or card.

Having had a chance to try a product or service, many gift recipients will like it and choose to continue their subscription when their gift term expires.

To explore in-depth how gift subscriptions and coupons can support the acquisition of new customers to your subscription business, including a number of best practices for achieving subscription success with these promotional tools, download our ebook.