Feb 5, 2021
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Gift card sales surged in UK’s Covid Christmas says report

Feb 5, 2021

A Christmas spent living under Covid-19 restrictions sparked a major shift in gifting habits, according to new data.

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One in four Britons (25.2%) purchased gift cards for others in December, compared with 17.9% in November, with 34.1% directly highlighting lockdown restrictions as their reason for doing so, according to the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA).

It also said brands such as Tesco Bank reported a surge in gift card sales – particularly digital gift cards — which can be sent, received and spent through smartphone apps – over the Christmas period.

Targeted, single-store gift cards (56.4%) were the most popular in December over multi-store alternatives (32.4%), “indicating a thoughtful, considered approach to gifting from the public”, the survey of 2,000 consumers claims. 

The GCVA figures also show digital gifting represented 26% of all UK gift card spend in 2020, rising to 50% accounting for all gift cards spent online. 

“Given Christmas was the most popular gifting occasion in 2019, representing 41.7% of total gift card spend… the suggested move to digital this past Christmas may be indicative of a more long-term shift in the public’s gifting habits”, the report added. 

It also said gift cards swelled in popularity throughout 2020 as the UK sought to lift the spirits of loved ones in isolation. It also found gift cards were preferred to physical gifts in the first lockdown, making up 14% of total gifting spend, compared with physical gifts at 12%.

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