According to the latest industry research from the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA) in partnership with data specialist GlobalData, gift cards for self-use of the purchaser is now one of the main drivers of gift card purchasing, representing 22 percent of consumer spend on gift cards.

The value of this trend amounts to just over £1 billion, as more and more shoppers are purchasing gift cards through B2B channels (e.g. employer programmes) rather than waiting to receive them from someone.

The factors that have contributed to this trend are the rise of gift card and loyalty card hybrids where the primary mechanism for online purchases is the gift card itself, as it is the case with video gaming industry.

Another gifting trend may have also promoted the increase, termed “sunny day gifting” referring to gift cards purchased with intention to be used at a later date once everyday life returns to normal. This new trend has already been largely adopted by the UK consumers, who have been purchasing gift cards for their favourite shops, bars and restaurants to support businesses through the pandemic.

Gifting for others still remains the most popular purchase driver of gift cards, making up 70 percent of the market. A small percentage of the total market (6 percent) makes up purchasing of gift cards by company bosses for staff to recognise loyalty and hard work.

Gail Cohen, director general of the GCVA, commented: “Our gifting habits continue to evolve over time, as evidenced by our latest research which reveals that, sometimes, we just like to treat ourselves, for which gift cards are the perfect solution. ”

“Gift cards’ versatility, despite the name, in fact extends far beyond being used as a gift for others. Whether rewarding key workers, helping to provide free school meals to schools or even just being used to pay for the weekly shop, gift cards have emerged as the safe, flexible payment option of choice throughout this pandemic. Given this, the continued rise of gift cards for self-gifting, at a time when we all need a little lift, comes as little surprise”, adds Cohen.

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