The Starbucks Card by the Numbers

Navigator Edition: August 2013
By: John Grund and Allison Brenner

Why would a payments consulting firm write about Starbucks and more importantly, why should you care?  Let the numbers tell part of the story:

  • In 2012, customers prepaid for over $2.9 billion worth of future purchases using the Starbucks Card, the company’s stored value product and loyalty platform. This figure includes both activations and reloads, physical and digital. The first three quarters of 2013 are already totaling nearly $2.9 billion
  • The Starbucks Card now accounts for 30% of all US transactions further demonstrating customer engagement with the brand and the company’s payment product
  • The Starbucks mobile app, tied to the Starbucks Card, now accounts for 10% of all US transactions
  • Nearly 25% of US transactions are associated with My Starbucks Rewards, the company’s loyalty program/platform which requires the registration of a Starbucks Card

The story does not end there.  Around the globe, adoption of the company’s payment and loyalty offerings is equally impressive. Cards are loaded in 24 countries.  China already has 2.5 million My Starbucks Rewards members without a mobile payment platform or eGifting.  Penetration on the card product exceeds 35% of total tender in China. Penetration in Singapore and Thailand are also approaching 30% of transactions.  Granted, Starbucks has a unique business model with its frequency of shop driving receptivity to a more convenient payment method and its loyalty program.   However, it would be a cop-out if other businesses conclude that there is no applicability of the Starbucks model to their own.  Every retailer, airline, hotel, and restaurant has loyal shoppers, flyers, and guests.  Chances are that many loyal customers are also shared with Starbucks.  With mobile agendas taking shape, you would be hard pressed to find stronger engagement and adoption than that achieved by Starbucks.  It is not because the Starbucks mobile app is trendy or customers have left their purses and wallets at home.  Rather, it is because Starbucks has found the sweet spot of convenience, value, and engagement that a mobile experience, done right, can deliver.  The numbers don’t lie and others should take note.

Sources: Starbucks Investor Relations, Starbucks 2013 Quarterly Earnings Calls.

For more information, please contact John Grund, Partner,; or Allison Brenner, Analyst, Both specialize in Credit Card Issuing.

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