Gift cards overtake physical gifts during lockdown

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Gift Cards COVID-19 Lockdown
The Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA) said gift cards bought for someone else made up 14% of gifting spend in recent months
// Gift cards were preferred during lockdown over physical gifts
// Gift cards bought for someone else made up 14% of gifting spend in recent months, overtaking physical gifts at 12%

New research has shown that gift cards have been a key purchase during the Covid-19 lockdown and surpassed the levels of physical gifts that were sold in the UK.

The Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA) said gift cards bought for someone else made up 14 per cent of gifting spend in recent months, overtaking physical gifts at 12 per cent.

At least 2000 Brits were surveyed and 30 per cent said they preferred gift cards due to a greater convenience.


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Within the overall gift card spend, individual retailer cards made up 44 per cent of overall market share and younger consumers said they were most likely to buy gift cards to support their favourite retailers.

A subsequent increase in footfall to physical stores is expected as a result of the recent reopenings and while the retailers concerned have already banked the money for those gift cards, GCVA research has shown that shoppers usually spend much more than the gift card amount.

Shoppers typically spend an additional £18.55 more than the average card value (£27.64) when spending their gifts – an uplift of 67 per cent

Although individual retailer gift cards remained popular, multi-store cards were also bought by 38 per cent of consumers.

“As shops continue to reopen their doors and the leisure sector gears up for reactivation, we anticipate a major surge in footfall,” GCVA director Gail Cohen said.

“Customers will flock to spend the gift cards they have bought or received in lockdown, offering a much-needed shot in the arm for the sector that could benefit businesses for months to come,” she said.

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