Men have emerged as the primary gift card buyer in the US for the first time according to Blackhawk Network. A study released by the branded payments provider provides retailers and restaurants with insight into how consumers are using and purchasing gift cards. In addition, it offers key takeaways on how to maximise gift card programmes.

The research also highlights the opportunities everyday gifting presents for retailers. Finally, it notes how an industry-wide shift to more sustainable gifting is resonating with consumers.

“Gift cards remain a win-win for both consumers and retailers. But after years of confusion and anxiety around the economy and the rising cost-of-living, it’s important to continue to reassess how consumers are purchasing and utilising gift cards,” said Jay Jaffin, chief marketing officer, BHN.

“Our research shows that consumers overall continue to value the convenience and flexibility of gift cards. But we’re also seeing shifts in who is buying gift cards and where. These insights offer retailers and restaurants a valuable look at the trends driving consumer gift card usage. And how that will impact the way they manage their gift card programmes this year and beyond.”

The gift card buyer is shifting

While men and women are similar in the types of gift cards they plan to purchase in the next year (e.g., single brand vs. multi-brand cards), men tend to purchase more gift cards to electronics and video game retailers than women. They reported purchasing personal care and beauty cards more than men. Gift card purchases have also gone from a go-to last-minute gift to a planned purchase. 71% of surveyed consumers reporting that their gift card purchases are planned. Where gift cards are being purchased also continues to evolve. In-store continues to remain a place where consumers purchase gift cards. Men are about 20% more likely to purchase physical cards than women.

But half of surveyed consumers are also purchasing gift cards through digital channels. When it comes to in-store gift card purchases, consumers overwhelmingly purchase at a store that sells gift cards for a variety of brands (69%). In addition, 4 in 10 surveyed consumers purchase gift cards directly from the brand. For merchants, in order to maximise sales, they will need to meet consumers everywhere they shop for gift cards.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Everyday gifting offers retailers a consistent opportunity to connect with customers

Gift cards have been a go-to holiday gift for nearly two decades. But gift cards are also a desirable gift for everyday gifting occasions and a reliable way for retailers to connect with customers year-round. Surveyed consumers plan to buy more gift cards in 2024. Consumers plan to purchase nine gift cards outside of the winter holiday season on average. When giving gift cards as a gift, 88% also purchased other gifts to give alongside a gift card. Additionally, after receiving a gift card, 58% of surveyed consumers plan to spend more than the value of the gift card. For merchants, these trends present an opportunity to capture increased shopping frequency and cart size, cross-merchandise across categories and drive more store visits.

Gift cards are getting greener, and consumers are noticing

In 2022, BHN made a goal to convert the majority of its own gift card products and support its card partners in converting their own plastic products to paper substrates by the end of 2024. BHN is leading the shift to greener gift cards and consumers are noticing. 30% of surveyed consumers report they have purchased a paper gift card. In addition to the shift to paper gift cards, consumers also continue to increasingly embrace digital. 60% of consumers plan to purchase a digital gift card in 2024, a 6% increase over last year.