It’s official, the gifting season is here and it seems we’re buying more gifts all round. Official data from the Gift Card Voucher Association revealed an uplift in gift buying in October to 35.9% of respondents, which includes tangible gifts and gift cards for self-use or for others. The gift card market is worth £7 billion in 2020, but what makes gift cards so popular, can we use them to support our local economies and are they a secure option for Christmas 2020?
The shop local revolution
The shop local sentiment has grown massively in 2020 as restrictions have kept people closer to home and encouraged them to shop locally as much as possible. Consumers have an appreciation and understanding that if they don’t support their local businesses, these businesses are unlikely to be around in 2021. Research from Visa and the Centre for Economics and Business Research suggests that 81% of people are supporting local businesses more than before the pandemic began and 54% of Brits plan to do at least some of their Christmas shopping locally this year. Research has also shown that shoppers can double the amount of money that stays in their local economy by consciously choosing to shop local. Changing consumer behaviour in 2020 has undoubtedly led to the rise in local gift card programmes. Town and City Gift Cards are now in operation in over 50 towns, cities and districts around the UK and Ireland.
The convenience factor
Getting out to buy tangible gifts hasn’t been as easy as usual this year, and this has no doubt contributed to the popularity of gift cards as presents. 33.5% of all gift card purchases were for physical cards in October 2020, with 29.3% saying they purchased physical gift cards as they could be easily delivered. Whilst non-essential stores re-open in England from the 2nd December, tier systems will come into force, meaning the convenience factor of being able to buy gift cards online is likely to maintain their popularity as Christmas gifts. Indeed, 46.1% of people said they are more likely to buy a gift card in the coming months. Town and City Gift Cards can be delivered directly to the recipient with a gift message.
Multi- venue gift cards
It seems that the biggest casualties of 2020 have been the national retailers who have struggled to stay afloat against the backdrop of covid-19. And with potential concerns about retailers going into administration, the purchase of single retailer gift cards dipped very slightly in October to 49.5% from 49.9%. What this has meant, however, is that the popularity of multi-venue gift cards, like Town and City Gift Cards, is rising, to 37.7% of all gift cards purchased in October from 36.9%. As vocal money experts continue to voice concerns about single retailer gift cards, and 62.7% of people worry about buying single brand gift cards, multi-venue gift cards like Town and City Gift Cards provide gifters with a secure present option.
Encouraging online shopping
The restrictions of 2020 have undoubtedly caused changes in customer behaviour with people who have never shopped online before trying it for the first time. And gift cards have contributed to this, with 21.6% of gift card purchases in October driven by a desire to encourage the recipient to shop online. We already know that people who receive gift cards are more experimental with them, and will try out new businesses and experiences, yet it seems that gift cards can also be used to encourage people to be more experimental with not just what they buy but how they buy it.
2020 has brought many changes in the retail landscape, in attitudes towards local shopping and in consumer behaviour. With Town and City Gift Cards, consumers have the opportunity to support their local communities with a multi-venue gift card that offers a secure way to give the gift of choice.