Are retailers maximizing gift card sales?
The holiday’s most requested gift — gift cards — continues to be promoted by retailers, but not too loudly. Becoming more acceptable as gifts every year, easier to use and safer, they continue to increase in popularity.
According to the NRF’s "Consumer Holiday Spending Survey," 58.8 percent of consumers celebrating the holidays indicated they would like to receive gift cards, marking the ninth straight year gift cards topped the list of most requested items.
Gift cards are becoming safer because of card security protections. According to Bankrate.com’s survey of 60 widely used gift cards, half offered the ability to add a security code, which helps protect the balance on a lost or stolen card. That was up from 35 percent in 2014. Seventy-two percent had some form of loss and theft protection, up from 68 percent.
Bankrate.com also found that just 13 percent of cards had any kind of purchase fee, down from 17 percent last year; and only eight percent had any kind of expiration.
Source: Retail Gift Card Association
Online options are making gift cards easier to use. A survey of more than 1,000 consumers by the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA) found a third were "very comfortable" using e-gift cards, and only 29 percent have never used one. Further, less than half (46 percent) of consumers insist on using physical cards with the other 54 percent open to using mobile wallets, a 27 percent increase from last holiday season.
Also, 71 percent indicated it was important that the recipient can use the card either online or in person, a convenience that supports retail omnichannel efforts.
The number one reason shoppers like to give or receive gift cards is that they safely allow the end users to purchase what they want while also offering convenience to the gift giver, according to RGCA.
Other findings from the RGCA survey:
- Most shoppers still prefer to give physical gift cards;
- Seventy-three percent planned to give at least one gift card this holiday season, a slight increase from last season;
- Seventy-three percent of shoppers who purchase gift cards also do some shopping for themselves, a 12 percent increase from last year. Of this group nearly three quarters will spend more than $20 in addition to the gift card.
- Gift cards will be a top holiday gifting choice again this season, with omnichannel capabilities a growing necessity – Retail Gift Card Association
- Bankrate.com 2015 Gift Cards Study Bankrate.com – Bankrate.com
- Gift Card Survey: Fewer gotchas, more handy features – Bankrate.com
- 57 Percent Of Holiday Shoppers Already Making Dents In Their Lists – National Retail Federation
- When Buying Gift Cards, Know Your Audience (and Their Age) – The New York Times (sub. required)
- Retailers In For A Very Digital Holiday Season, According To NRF Survey – National Retail Federation
Should gift cards be called out more in retailers’ holiday campaigns? What are some ways to make gift card purchase and redemption easier for consumers?