Brits Set to Celebrate a Gift Card Christmas

  • New data shows shoppers flocking to purchase gift cards for Christmas
  • Christmas gift card spending predicted to surge for second consecutive year
  • Four in 10 shoppers to start Christmas shopping early this year

A desire for more flexible gifting methods, alongside continued supply chain disruption making it difficult to purchase gifts, has sparked a significant shift in the public’s gifting habits, according to data released by the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA) working with GlobalData.

A survey of 2,000 members of the public has revealed that almost four in 10 (39.6%) of UK shoppers are set to purchase more, or a similar amount, of gift cards this Christmas. This is compared to even the previous year when lockdown restrictions sparked a similar surge in gift card purchasing.

Perhaps as a result of consumer fears over physical gifts being unavailable, with major retailers warning that demand may outstrip supply this year, one in three (33%) shoppers report that they are likely to undertake Christmas shopping earlier than usual this year, rising to 38.8% of older shoppers. This indicates that consumers may be looking to avoid the prospect of empty shelves and disappointment stemming from potential supply shortages.

Additionally, according to further research carried out by YouGov, more than a quarter (27 per cent) of consumers named gift cards, vouchers or cash as the present they would most like to receive this year – the most popular gifting option over clothing (23%), experiences (20%) or perfume (15%).

An increased desire for convenient gifts that are easier to buy and give may be driving this demand for gift cards amongst worried shoppers, with recent industry research showing that shoppers are also progressively buying and spending digital gift cards which can be sent and received at any time, anywhere. According to the GCVA’s most recent State of the Nation research, 38.4% of customers have now converted to digital gift cards, and 47.1% of shoppers normally spend their gift cards online.

Single-store gift cards remain the gift of choice, over multi-store alternatives, having been purchased by 74.9% of shoppers, according to the same whitepaper. Looking at last Christmas specifically, 56.4% of gift card buyers purchased single-store cards, compared with 32.4% for multi-store cards, indicating a thoughtful, considered approach to gifting from the public.

Gail Cohen, director general of the GCVA, commented: “It is little surprise to see shoppers flocking to gift cards amidst all the current market uncertainty, as was the case both last Christmas and during multiple lockdowns. Unlike physical gifts, which run the risk of being unavailable this year for some, gift cards are a fail-safe way to ensure there are presents under the Christmas tree.

“If you do 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. Many gift cards can even be spent online from the comfort of your home, so get ready to log on and start spending!”

The GCVA has prepared a top tips guide helping shoppers to make the most of their gift cards, whether buying or receiving them, which can be found here:

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