Monday , November 23, 2020

Covid-19’s Long Shadow Is Prompting a Rise in Gift Card Sales, Including Digital Cards

With a looming holiday shopping season inflected by uncertainties surrounding the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, payments firms are trying to work out how consumers may change spending habits this year. A study released Thursday indicates processors expect a healthy jump in e-commerce volume, including a surge for gift cards.

Consumers intend to buy 10 gift cards on average during the holiday season, twice the average number in 2019, devoting 40%, or $313 on average, of their gifting budget to the products, up 19%, according to a survey conducted the last week of August for Blackhawk Networks Inc., a Pleasanton, Calif.-based prepaid card processor. The study included 1,500 respondents. “Our research shows consumers will look to give gift cards more than ever before this season,” says Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing at Blackhawk, in a statement.

Digital gift cards, in particular, appear to be enjoying strong demand as consumers can not only shop for them online but also deliver them remotely. The volume of digital cards sold on merchant sites is up 74% so far this year, according to Blackhawk’s own data. The absolute volume was not immediately available. 

“We also found that the shift to digital and surge in digital wallet adoption has pushed demand for digital gifting to an all-time high,” McEndree said. “As consumers are increasing online shopping, limiting travel, and looking for socially distanced gifting options, e-gifts are proving to be a preferred contactless option.”

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