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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

Monday, April 4, 2022

27-years on, gift cards still popular

Consumers are amping up gift card purchases as issuers expand promotions and supply chain issues continue to thwart gifting of physical items. "It's hard to believe that after 27 years the trajectory for gift cards continues to grow," said Tom Niedbalski, vice president for gift card solutions at Fiserv. "Evolving use cases and the convenience factor continue to drive adoption."

Fiserv, which routinely gauges consumer attitudes toward gift cards, reported that its latest poll found eight in 10 consumers plan to purchase gift cards this year. Fifty-eight percent said they expected to purchase more gift cards than in years past because of inventory shortages.

Consumers are slightly more inclined to purchase physical gift cards than digital gift cards, while those receiving gift cards are more inclined to store the cards in their digital wallets. About one in five (19 percent) of consumers polled said they plan to purchase more physical gift cards in 2022 than in previous years. Asked why they prefer plastic to digital, 65 percent of purchases said they felt physical cards are less prone to fraud. Sixteen percent of polled consumers said they plan to purchase more digital gift cards.

On the receiving side, 53 percent of consumers polled said they planned to store gift cards on their mobile devices. "This helps them better organize their gift cards, which adds to the convenience," Niedbalski said.

Merchant promos get credit

Niedbalski credited merchants with helping to amp up gift card traffic. "Some merchants are taking a really proactive approach to promoting gift cards," he said. "Many created aggressive and unique promotions throughout the pandemic." The resulting influx of gift card sales helped merchants financially weather the pandemic, he noted.

Among consumers polled by Fiserv, 62 percent said they plan on taking advantage of gift card promotions in 2022. Asked what types of promotions they prefer:

  • 33 percent said bonus amounts added to cards
  • 28 percent prefer bonus gift cards for purchasing gift cards
  • 24 percent like getting a free gift with the purchase of a gift card.

Fiserv also asked consumers about the categories of gift cards they preferred: they found 20 percent plan purchases of cards bearing major credit card brand logos (like American Express and Visa). Slightly fewer (18 percent) plan purchases of gift cards for online-only merchants (like eBay and Amazon). Thirteen percent expect to buy gift cards for discount/big box stores, and 12 percent expect to buy gift cards from coffee shop chains. end of article

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