// GCVA & GlobalData found that one in four Brits purchased gift cards for others in December
// This compares to 17.9% in November
// Digital gifting now represents 26% of all UK gift card spend, rising to 50% when accounting for all gift cards spent online
Sales of gift cards surged over the Christmas trading period as Covid-19 restrictions across the UK sparked a significant shift in the public’s spending and gifting habits.
According to the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA), a survey of 2000 people conducted with GlobalData found that one in four Brits (25.2 per cent) purchased gift cards for others in December.
This compares to 17.9 per cent in November, with over a third of these (34.1 per cent) directly highlighting lockdown restrictions as their reason for doing so.
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Leading brands have also reported a surge in gift card sales – particularly digital gift cards, which can be sent, received and spent through smartphone apps – over the Christmas period.
Targeted, single-store gift cards were the gift of choice in December over multi-store alternatives, with 56.4 per cent of gift card buyers purchasing single-store cards, compared with 32.4 per cent for multi-store cards.
Gaming gift cards also saw a notable uplift, with 11.3 per cent of gift card buyers purchasing, compared with 7.9 per cent in November.
In 2020, GCVA figures revealed that digital gifting now represents 26 per cent of all UK gift card spend, rising to 50 per cent when accounting for all gift cards spent online.
GCVA director general Gail Cohen 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.”