Miconex has revealed that over £1.9 million was spent through Town and City Gift Card programmes in 2020, providing evidence that consumers are turning to local, multi-venue gift card programmes in a bid to support local businesses. The 2020 sales data represents 350% year on year growth.
Perth based Miconex took its total number of local Town and City Gift Card programmes to 57 in 2020, with 19 new schemes launching between August and December as places sought to harness the shop local sentiment and unite businesses behind one gift card that can be spent across retail, leisure, hospitality and services.
Christmas was a key trading period for Miconex, with 33 of its schemes recording five figure sales in November and December. Two places, Enniskillen and Aberdeen, achieved over £100,000 in gift card sales in December alone.
In the UK market, Miconex reports that gift card transactions in the last two months of 2020 were largely driven by Boomers (55 plus) and Generation X shoppers (aged 35-54), representing 34.88% and 32.33% of transactions respectively. Millennials (25-34) accounted for 19.89% of transactions and Generation Z (16-24) 12.89%.
Data also revealed that the older the customer, the higher the purchase value with 46.75% of revenue generated by Boomers, 33.63% for Generation X, 14.12% for Millennials and 5.5% for Generation Z. Thus, whilst under 34s accounted for over 32% of transactions, they represented 19.62% of revenue for gift card sales.
Similarly, in Ireland, Irish gift card sales identified a link between purchase value and age, with 46.33% of revenue from Boomers, 39.6% for Generation X, 11.08% for Millennials and 3% for Generation Z in November and December. However in Ireland’s case, the greatest number of transactions came from Generation X at 39.07% of transactions vs. Boomers at 37.5%.
In the UK, women purchased more gift cards, representing 53.18% of all transactions but 49.72% of revenue due to lower gift card purchasing value than men. In Ireland, the trend for women to buy most gift cards was more pronounced, with women buying 60.94% of all gift card in the festive period, accounting for over 55% of revenue.
The sales figures from Miconex has demonstrated success for both small towns and big cities with gift card programmes. Enniskillen in Northern Ireland has a population of around 11,000 and introduced the Enniskillen Gift Card in 2017:
“We have been able to build the Enniskillen Gift Card into the community,” said Noelle McAlloon from Experience Enniskillen. “Shop local resonates with people here who rely on our businesses a bit more than you would do in a city. The community is really behind the gift card. Corporate sales increased our sales by 37% in 2020 after employers rewarded staff after a difficult year but we’ve built up and nurtured these relationships over time. We’re incredibly proud to have achieved over £144,000 in sales in 2020. We want the Enniskillen Gift Card to do well and we’ll do what it takes to make that happen.”
Having offline sales points has been vital for reaching the older generation in the town of Kirkwall, population 9000, located on the Orkney Islands off Scotland’s north coast. Over £80,000 was spent through the Kirkwall Gift Card in 2020. Laura Bruce, consultant for Kirkwall BID received a High Street Hero award from Scotland’s Towns Partnership for her efforts to support the Orkney economy in 2020. Laura commented:
“We launched the Kirkwall Gift Card in December 2019 and have around 80% of retail type businesses signed up to receive the Kirkwall Gift Card. People will come from other islands to Kirkwall to spend their card, and with pop up shops and even click and collect over the festive period, we’ve been able to cater for all shopping preferences. In 2020, the pandemic meant Orkney lost out on the usual tourism income but our corporate sales really increased. 15% of our sales actually came from outside Orkney, from as far as Australia, as people purchased them as gifts for family and friends living here. As well as keeping money locked in Orkney, we’re also bringing new money in. The amount of positive comments we get about the Kirkwall Gift Card are unreal.”
One of the larger cities that has enjoyed significant success with its gift card programme is Aberdeen, which has a population of over 200,000. Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “We have been pleased with the fantastic sales the Aberdeen Gift Card has had since it launched in late November. With 3500 cards bought with a total value of £150,000, it really has given a boost to the local economy. Aberdeen Inspired worked incredibly hard in a short timescale to launch it in time for Christmas and it has helped to make a big difference at a time when it was and is most needed.”
Miconex’s sales performance aligns with findings of increased buoyancy in the gift card market during November and December. The Gift Card and Voucher Association reported a marked increase in overall gift card buying in December 2020, with 51.5% of respondents purchasing a gift card for self-use or as a gift. They also found that 25.2% of people purchasing gift cards for others and 24.2% purchasing gift cards for themselves, did so to show support for local businesses.
Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex believes the success of its Town and City Gift Card concept is just the start of what can be achieved with local gift card programmes: “The shop local sentiment has been building globally for some years now, as we see a return to community and all of the benefits strong communities bring. The pandemic has accelerated the shop local trend and increased the demand but is not the sole cause of it. What our places have done is convert the demand for local shopping into economy boosting revenue, in a programme that works just as well in a small town as in a large city, creating an unbeatable consumer product.
“What we can see from the 2020 data is that multi-venue gift cards are popular across the generations. As we would expect, Boomers and Generation X shoppers spend most when they buy gift cards, due to their greater disposable income but Millennials and Generation Z are vital to the long term success of gift card programmes; once that loyalty is gained, purchase values can increase alongside disposable income. Overall, this is data that we will use to continue to support our new and existing gift card programmes around the UK and Ireland.”