Gift Card Data Shows 59% Spike in ‘Sales’ caused by Government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme

  • Consumers have responded positively to ‘Eat Out’ scheme with 59% spike in sales in the form of redemptions of gift cards within restaurants, cafes and pubs.
  • Sector leaders says spike supports #giftcard500 campaign which calls for increase in tax-free allowance on gift cards backed by Marks & Spencer, Virgin Experience and Love2Shop

Early signs are that the first three days of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme have triggered an immediate boost in sales, with a 59% increase in sales for the sector in the form of gift card redemptions.

The figures released by the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA), reveals the spike occurred on the first week of the scheme (3rd to 5th August), with figures from 6th August falling back to normal levels.

These figures taken from over 8,000 outlets nationwide, are the first sign of the level of impact the scheme has created giving a much needed boost to the high street.

Eoin Whyte, chair of GCVA and Director of Savvy which collated the data, comments, “As gift cards are present across the sector, this data is hugely significant as it’s the first indication of the scale of consumer response to the Eat Out scheme.

“We expect this rise to be indicative of the total sales in the sector as gift cards are well represented across all age ranges, demographics and outlet types.

“The figure also suggests that attempts by retailers to secure future sales with lockdown gift card schemes are working. Our research found that as many as one in five (21%) of gift card purchases over lockdown were made to support favourite brands.

“Consumers are now using the Chancellor’s deal to get best value for their money.”

The impact of the scheme, is also being used by sector leaders to increase calls for a rise in the tax-free allowance on gift cards.

The campaign, spearheaded by the Gift Card & Voucher Association, is calling on the government to increase the tax-free, employer gifting allowance from £50, currently permitted through HMRC’s Trivial Benefits Allowance, to £500. The campaign is encouraging employers across the nation to then use the increased tax-free allowance to use gift cards to thank staff for their hard work over the past few months of COVID-19 uncertainty

The #GiftCard500 campaign is backed by high street giants, sector ambassadors, as well as gifting and incentive businesses.

The GCVA has written to the government including members of the Treasury and the assistant director of consumer policy & enforcement, petitioning them to raise the tax-free limit and offer their support in implementing the scheme. In addition, an online petition has also been launched, to lobby the government to making this change.

Gail Cohen, director general of the GCVA, commented: “The effects of lockdown and social distancing will be felt across the retail and leisure industries, which are already among the hardest-hit by COVID-19, for months to come. Today, our industries have joined forces to propose a proven way to significantly increase shopper demand, spend and high street businesses bottom line.

“If the tax-free limit for employee gifting was to be raised permanently, and even just a small portion of businesses took advantage of the new legislation to thank their loyal staff, millions of shoppers would have money in their pocket which, when spent, could be worth billions to struggling UK businesses just when they need it the most.

“Gift cards have never been more popular – people love giving, receiving and spending them. We urge the government to tap into the massive potential gift cards offer, which would mean more money in shoppers pockets and, in turn, the stimulus our high street businesses, and the wider economy, needs to get back on their feet after months of uncertainty.”

For more information, visit, or to support the petition please visit

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