Gift Card Sales Surge

A survey reveals lockdown has seen a significant rise in gift card sales.

Data released by the Gift Card & Voucher Association and GlobalData has revealed a shift in gifting habits over the lockdown period leading up to Christmas in 2020.

The survey of 2000 people, found that 25.2% purchased gift cards for others in December, up from 17.9% in November. Over a third of these people (34.1%) admitted that lockdown restrictions were their reason for purchasing a gift card.   

Brands such as Tesco Bank have reported an increase in gift card sales over the Christmas period, particularly digital gift cards which can be sent, received and spent via smartphone apps.

Consumers were still putting thought into their gifting, with targeted, single-store gift cards the preferred choice (56.4%) over multi-store alternatives (32.4%). Gaming gift cards also rose to 11.3% in December, up from 7.9% in November, showing gaming’s continued popularity as a lockdown activity.

Gift cards swelled in popularity throughout 2020 as the UK sought to lift the spirits of loved ones in isolation. GCVA research found that gift cards were preferred to physical gifts in the first lockdown, making up 14% of total gifting spend, compared with physical gifts at 12%.

The GCVA, the trade body which represents more than 80 of the UK’s largest retailers, issuers and suppliers, is now urging the public to spend any gift cards they may have received this Christmas; both treating themselves to a lockdown lift while providing a boost to the high street at a time when footfall has plummeted compared with the previous year.

Gail Cohen, Director General of the GCVA, said, “It has been great to see shoppers overcoming lockdown challenges and supporting their favourite brands by opting for a gift card Christmas. Over the past year, the rise of digital gifting solutions in particular is driving a major change in how we send and receive gifts, meaning they can be shared and enjoyed almost instantly, offering a safe way of gifting that still offers that truly personal touch. That said, physical gift cards having performed strongly too indicates the importance of retailers continuing to offer that tangible solution that consumers can still “unwrap” on the big day.”

“If you did receive a gift card for Christmas this year, whether physical or digital, don’t just leave it in the bottom drawer and forget about it. It’s not a savings product, it is there for you to treat yourself, and what better time could there be to give yourself a boost than now? Many gift cards can be spent online from the comfort of your home, so log on and start spending!”

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