Gift cards are encouraging younger shoppers to try out new retailers, reveals new research

New research commissioned by the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA) suggests that gift cards could be the key to attracting younger shoppers. 

Its State of the Nation 2022 report shows that more than half of all UK shoppers have been introduced to a new brand or organisation via a gift card they’ve received. This figure rises dramatically to 67.3 per cent of Gen Z consumers – indicating that gift cards and vouchers play a vital role in engagement and loyalty.

The survey also found that more than two-fifths (41.9 per cent) of Gen Zedders have purchased gift cards within the last three years – a figure that rises to 45.8 per cent of Millennial shoppers compared to 32 per cent of Baby Boomers. 

While gift cards have been steadily rising in prominence with younger shoppers, the last Christmas period may have been a catalyst for this growth. Gift cards provided a particularly important gifting option for both the Gen Z (40.6 per cent received more gift cards than the previous year) and Millennial (36.1 per cent) age cohorts.

The research also found that Gen Z and Millennial shoppers are more likely to prioritise choice and flexibility. As well as gift cards that offer options beyond traditional single store spend, 48.8 per cent of Gen Z gift card buyers purchased multi-store gift cards that can be spent at various outlets.

The importance of flexibility and ease of use was further highlighted by Gen Z shoppers, with almost a quarter of respondents (23 per cent) saying they wanted to spend gift cards online. This was more popular than the flexibility to spend the gift card wherever they liked (18 per cent), having a personalised image on the gift card (17 per cent), and gift cards that are able to be received through social networking and messaging platforms (15 per cent).

Gail Cohen, director general of the GCVA, comments: “Attracting the business of the shoppers of the future, whose buying power will only continue to grow in the years to come, has arguably never been more crucial. Gift cards, which the younger, digitally-savvy shopper of the future love, offer the key to doing so.

“When it comes to standing out in an increasingly-saturated marketplace, businesses cannot ignore the growing prominence of gift cards in getting shoppers through the doors and keeping the tills ringing. Particularly as we continue to move towards a more flexible, cashless-led, payment ecosystem, businesses that listen to the needs of their younger customers and offer the flexibility younger shoppers crave in how they pay will benefit significantly in terms of both sales and continued customer loyalty.”