Two New Studies Highlight Gift Cards Trends Heading into Holidays (Nov. 10, 2015)
Expectations for plastic and e-gift cards are high this holiday season and two new studies—one from Blackhawk Network and one from First Data—shed light on consumer preferences heading into retail’s peak sales season. Consumers will be buying and spending more on gift cards this year, reaching an average of $58.95 spent on physical cards, compared with $57.64 in 2014, and $56.98 spent on e-gift cards, compared with $54.90 last year, according to the First Data survey. E-gifting has hit the mainstream, with 50 percent of consumers reporting they have purchased an e-gift card in the past year, and 64 percent interested in storing gift cards on their mobile devices.
Blackhawk’s survey also testifies to consumers’ embrace of e-gifting, with nearly 60 percent of consumers purchasing an e-gift within the last year. Of those who purchased e-gifts, most shoppers purchased them for a combination of gifting and self-use, with nearly one-fourth (27 percent) of consumers buying e-gifts solely for gift-giving. The data also show that plastic cards remain popular and are more often used for gift-giving—86 percent of respondents have purchased plastic gift cards within the last year—and more than four in 10 (43 percent) consumers surveyed bought plastic gift cards solely for gift-giving, according to Blackhawk Network.
“Gift cards remain incredibly popular and the expansion into digital forms has provided new opportunities for both retailers and consumers,” said Teri Llach, chief marketing officer, Blackhawk Network. “Our research shows that plastic gift cards are used primarily for gifting, while e-gifts are more often used for self-use. Digital gifts, such as e-gifts and e-codes, are helping to drive rewards and incentive programs in an incremental way.”
Blackhawk measured the use of e-gift cards bought at a discount (37 percent) or received through reward or rebate programs (65 percent). More than 85 percent of those respondents kept the e-gift for themselves. The study also indicates that e-gifts are more prevalent among millennials than other generations. According to the survey, millennials purchase more e-gifts than other age groups (76 percent). They also receive more e-gifts as gifts (71 percent). Within this group, 53 percent of plastic gift cards and 31 percent of e-gifts purchased are used for gifting.