Gift cards pave the way back to the high street

New research from the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA) has revealed that gift cards could be the key to reattracting shoppers back to stores and boosting sales. 

The State of the Nation 2021 research surveyed 2,000 UK shoppers to determine buying habits and attitudes towards gift cards.

It found that almost two-thirds (65%) of shoppers have been introduced to a new brand or organisation after receiving a gift card for that business, a rise from 59% in 2019, indicating gift cards could help drive shopper back to the high street.

The research aslso found that 43% of shoppers have made a one-off purchase from a business after receiving a gift card, and that a further 22% have become a regular customer to the brand.

Younger shoppers were the most likely to become a regular customer of a new brand after receiving a gift card for that business.

The findings also indicated that gift cards drive increased in-store spend during the previous periods where lockdown restrictions were relaxes, with more than two thirds (67.8%) of shoppers reported that they usually spend a higher amount than the straight value of their gift cards when redeeming them.

“Between their convenience, ease of use and versatility, gift cards have gone from strength to strength over the past year,” said Gail Cohen, director general of the GCVA. “Shoppers love gift cards, whether buying or receiving them, and it is clear that retailers and other high street businesses cannot afford to ignore their importance and continuing relevance to consumers, which is only growing over time.

“Throughout the pandemic gift cards have been, and continue to be, an invaluable customer loyalty and engagement tool. With their ever-growing popularity amongst retailers, businesses and the public alike, gift cards remain vital for high street businesses as they emerge from this challenging period.

“Brands would do well to pay attention to shoppers’ evolving tastes when it comes to gift cards, such as the rise of digital solutions and self-use, and tailor their offering accordingly, such as by offering in-store promotions and incentives for gift card self-use. Those that stay mindful of these changing consumer trends and expectations will be able to take full advantage of the numerous benefits gift cards offer, placing themselves in excellent stead to thrive over the coming months as gift cards continue to grow in popularity and importance.”

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