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Digital gift card programs offer retailers new revenue

Friday, April 12, 2024 — 12:16:24 (EDT)

PLEASANTON, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE) -- For the seventh consecutive year, leading branded payments provider Blackhawk Network (BHN) has collaborated with NAPCO Research on its market-leading report on the gift card industry1. The 2024 assessment evaluated the digital gift card programs of 100 top U.S. merchants and found continued consumer interest in digital gift cards shows no signs of slowing, making investments in online gift card programs crucial for merchant success.

“The U.S. gift card market is forecasted to reach a total value of more than $247 billion by 2027 with digital gift cards and codes forecasted to account for nearly 55% of total gift card spending2. Consumers continue to seek out gift cards at a growing rate, but to fully maximize the ROI of a gift card program, merchants need to invest in both in-store and digital,” said Jay Jaffin, chief marketing officer, BHN. “An optimized gift card program meets the needs of today’s omnichannel shoppers while catering to the preferences of multiple types of gift card purchasers and recipients. Our latest report with NAPCO equips merchants with actionable insights and best practices that will allow them to enhance their customers’ experiences and unlock new revenue growth opportunities.”

In assessing the complete digital gift card experience, analysts evaluated the buyer and recipient experience, purchasing physical and/or digital gift cards from each retailer evaluated. For the 2024 evaluation, 100 merchants were selected across 15 verticals and evaluated based on 135 unique criteria. The resulting report offers a comprehensive view into the progress and areas for growth in consumer gift card purchase and recipient experiences.

Key findings and takeaways from the 2024 evaluation include:

Gift card programs represent significant sources of untapped revenue. Over the last five years, long-term growth across all evaluated channels is meaningfully outpacing the average scores before the pandemic. Increasing program awareness and optimizing customer experience can help nurture revenue growth.

Some retail verticals are ahead of the pack in program execution. The health and beauty industry leads all verticals with the highest overall digital gift card program scores followed closely by general merchandise and sporting goods. Regardless of industry, personalization options represent smart ways to engage customers and run programs in a more strategic way.

Traditional online shopping channels remain relevant. Desktop continues to be the highest scoring channel across verticals. Keywords can improve site search results for consumers browsing online.

A mobile-first strategy can vastly improve gift card programs. Mobile apps are the lowest scoring digital channel evaluated and continue to represent a significant area for improvement, especially considering digital gift cards make excellent last-minute gifts and serve as powerful promotional tools. Leaning on mobile opportunities can be an innovative approach for selling and redeeming gift cards across all customer touchpoints.

New this year, the 2024 report evaluates the entertainment, fashion, gaming, online services and travel verticals. The report also includes a customer loyalty synopsis and introduced segmented scoring for the first time, which includes brand-only gift card programs as well as gift card mall programs (merchants that sell other brands’ gift cards in addition to their own).

The full U.S. Edition of the Benchmark Report: 2024 Digital Gift Card Leaders provides average scores for industry categories in addition to overall U.S. data and insights to help retailers assess the strengths and opportunities for their own gift card programs and prioritize areas for investment.

About Blackhawk Network (BHN)

Blackhawk Network (BHN) is the leader in global branded payment technologies. We strengthen relationships between brands and their customers, employees, and partners by transforming transactions into connections. BHN’s portfolio includes: Gift Card & digital code products, promotions and distribution that grow revenue faster; Rewards & Incentives that build loyalty and acquisition and are integrated into today’s leading platforms; and Payments that enable businesses and customers to access and disburse funds in convenient and innovative ways. BHN’s network spans across the globe with over 400,000 consumer touchpoints. Learn more at BHN.com. 

About NAPCO Research

NAPCO Media is the parent company of Total Retail, a digital retail publication, as well as 15 other brands. Total Retail publishes daily content and holds webinars and industry events for its 70K+ audience of retailers. Led by a former Forrester Research analyst, NAPCO Research partners with retail clients on their custom research and thought leadership needs.


1 “2024 Merchant Gift Card Omnicommerce Evaluation – US Edition” was a study conducted by NAPCO Research on behalf of BHN from September 2023 to December 2023. The results are based on a comprehensive review of 100 U.S. retailers’ gift card programs based upon 135 criteria.

2 The 2023 PayNXT360 Report was published in February 2023.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information: bankcardlife.com?orid=33533&opid=1 .

Source: Company press release. end of article

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