Gift cards & vouchers soar in popularity

The UK gift card market is continuing to grow and support the UK retail market, despite the challenging environment, according to latest industry data published by the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association (UKGCVA).

With research covering the second half of 2018, the report showed overall growth has increased by 10.73% year on year. Gift card sales have increased across retail, experiential and third-party supplier sectors, with store branded gift cards demonstrating particularly impressive growth at 16.64% for the period. This growth is being driven from an increase of 33% through the business-to-business (B2B) channel and a growth of 4.5% through the consumer sales channel.

Within the consumer sales channel, which includes gift card malls, online sales and sales of store branded gift cards sold direct from retailers’ own stores, gift card malls have once again seen the greatest increase, comfortably exceeding online consumer sales. However direct sales from retailers’ own stores, with a lower growth rate of 4.7% in the period, is still where the majority of gift cards are purchased, accounting for 75.62% of all gift card consumer sales.

Business-to-business (B2B) sales account for the largest percentage of growth, up by 22%, as more companies utilise gift cards for incentive and reward schemes. In comparison, consumer sales increased by 3.94% in what is historically their better-performing period, leading to an almost equal share of the market in this period between B2B and consumer sales.

Digital gift cards are also increasing in popularity and experienced the highest growth in the second half of 2018, when compared to paper and physical cards.