Gift cards are expected to be popular presents this holiday season as 60% of consumers say they will buy the cards to fill a void in product availability created by disruptions to product supply chains, says Fiserv Inc.’s Q3 2022 Gift Card Gauge.
Discount stores and big-box retailers will be consumers’ go-to merchants for gift cards, with 42% of respondents saying they will purchase gift cards from those retailers, up from 33% during the same period in 2021. Online-only retailers will be the next most popular source of gift cards, with 38% of respondents saying they will purchase gift cards from them, compared to 41% a year earlier. Coffee shops are also expected to enjoy brisk gift cards sales this holiday season, with 33% of respondents planning to purchase gift cards there, compared to 26% a year earlier. Fiserv surveys more than 1,000 consumers for its quarterly Gift Card Gauge.
When it comes to the amounts consumers plan to load onto gift cards, 25% of respondents say $25 to $30 is their preferred sum, a figure that remains unchanged from 2021, despite consumers’ concerns about inflation, the study says. In addition, 20% of respondents plan to load between $50 and $100, down from 23% a year earlier, and 19% plan to load $40 to $50 on gift card, down from 20% in 2021.
While digital channels remain popular with consumers for fulfilling their holiday-shopping needs (42% compared to 37% in 2021), many still prefer to give or receive a physical gift card during the holiday season. Some 66% of respondents say they prefer to give a physical gift card as a holiday present, compared to 58% in 2021. When it comes to receiving a holiday gift, 58% of respondents say they prefer a physical gift card, up from 43% a year earlier.
Designs reflective of the holiday season also play well with consumers, with 44% of respondents saying they want a holiday-themed card, 22% preferring a wintry-landscape design, and 18% preferring a patterned design.
The projected strength of gift card sales for the holiday season is good news for merchants, according to Fiserv, as nearly 1 in 4 consumers will be spending less in general, double the number in 2021. At the same time, nearly 60% of consumers expect to spend roughly the same amount as last year.
Increasing concerns about product availability due to ongoing disruptions in the supply chain have prompted many consumers to start their holiday shopping earlier (32%). The reasons for the earlier start are varied. Of those consumers starting their holiday shopping earlier, 55% say they are doing so to spread out their holiday gift purchases, 38% say they are concerned about product shortages, and 30% say they are shopping earlier to take advantage of promotions and discounts.
Indeed, Cyber Monday is expected to be the busiest day of the holiday-shopping season, with 39% of respondents saying they plan to take advantage of Cyber Monday deals. In comparison, 37% say they plan to shop Black Friday deals and 12% say they will take advantage of Small Business Saturday deals.