Research into 2000 UK shoppers revealed that gift cards overtook physical gifts during the Covid-19 crisis
The research, carried out in partnership with GlobalData, found that, of those that purchased gifts for loved ones during lockdown, 14% bought a gift card for somebody else, outselling physical gifts at just 12%. When quizzed about their motivations for switching to gift cards, 30% of respondents highlighted the increased difficulty of purchasing physical gifts in lockdown, with gift cards offering greater convenience.
A further 25% did so due to the ease of having gift cards delivered. More than one in five (21%) of consumers purchased gift cards to support their favourite businesses during a difficult period, highlighting a growing trend among consumers to spend with brands that have prioritised customer service and loyalty. This has been particularly noticeable among younger consumers, with 32.5% of those aged 16-24, and 33.8% of 25-34, purchasing for this reason.
Retail gift cards remain the most popular form of gift cards, purchased by 44% of shoppers, followed by multi-store gift cards, which were bought by 38% of consumers. Gaming gift cards have also seen a boost during lockdown, having been purchased by 24% of respondents. Gaming gift cards have proved particularly popular among younger age groups, with 24.7% of shoppers aged 16-24 and 21.6% of those aged 25-34, purchasing since the lockdown.
Experience gift cards, which can be spent on activities such as weekends away, or at local bars and restaurants, were purchased by 16% of consumers, with a further 10% having purchased leisure gift cards, reflecting continued public uncertainty around when, or if, businesses throughout the sector will be able to reopen.
Interestingly, almost half (45%) of gift cards purchased during lockdown were from physical stores, due to a combination of the increasing popularity of supermarkets and convenience stores as avenues for gift card purchasing. Gift card malls â€“ a wall of branded gift cards from a range of retailers, located in a store â€“ will have also contributed to this growth, with 7.2% of shoppers most likely to purchase gift cards in this way.
â€˜Some of the UKâ€™s most popular gifting occasions, such as Easter, Motherâ€™s Day and Fatherâ€™s Day, fell during lockdown,â€™ said Gail Cohen, director general of the GCVA. â€˜To adhere to social distancing, consumers needed gifting solutions that minimise contact, could be sent instantly, and enjoyed at a later date. For this, as well as recognising our key workers and even keeping the nation fed, gift cards have been the perfect solution.â€™