As consumers get to grips with the reality of a UK-wide lockdown, gifting is seeing a dramatic change in consumer behaviour according to the latest forecasts from the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA).
With birthdays, Father’s Day and Easter commanding up to 39 per cent of the UK’s annual £3.3 billion spend on gifting, Brits are finding new ways to show loved ones that they care while maintaining government-mandated social distancing practices. Subsequently, gift card providers are experiencing a surge in demand.
Due to the pandemic, consumers are increasingly opting for gifting solutions that minimise contact, can be sent instantly, and enjoyed at a later date. At least one in four gifts received over the coming months are likely to be digitally ‘pinged’ rather than posted.
Digital gifting already represents 26 per cent of all UK gift cards according to GCVA research, rising to 50 per cent accounting for all gift cards spent online. This figure is predicted to rise sharply as people seek to manage their gifting from home.
The outbreak has also given rise to a brand-new gifting trend known as “sunny day gifting,” which refers to when a gift – usually a gift card – is purchased with the intention of being used at a later date. This new means of gifting has already been adopted positively throughout the retail and hospitality industries, with consumers across the UK purchasing gift cards from their favourite shops, bars and restaurants.
Gail Cohen, director general of the GCVA, comments: “Life as we know it has changed beyond recognition over the past few weeks, however gift cards remain a wonderfully versatile way of both showing your loved ones how much you care – even if you’re not able to be with them – and brightening up their day.
“The rise of digital gifting solutions in particular is driving a major change in how we send and receive gifts, meaning they can be shared and enjoyed almost instantly, offering a safe way of gifting that still offers that truly personal touch.
Aoife Davey, group marketing director at One4all Gift Cards, adds: “It’s never been more important to connect with people from a distance and make sure loved ones know we care. We’ve seen increased demand for both physical gift cards and for our new digital gift card, which does not require anything to physically exchange hands. We are also offering customers free postage to make it easier for people to connect with one another in this way during this time.”