Card Manufacturer Finds Simpler Cards, but More Outlets in Review of Gift Card Trends

by Ben Jackson 0

During the holiday season, more merchantshosted card malls, but the cards in those malls were simpler thanin years past.

Travel Tags Inc., a card manufacturer and printer based in InverGrove Heights, Minn., visited 108 unique merchants in the Twincities and found that 14 of them were hosting card malls, up from10 in the previous year.

In looking at the types of cards offered, it found the majority ofthem (63%) were standard plastic cards, up from 25% in 2010. Thepercentage of cards that were lenticular (displaying a 3-D orchanging image) had fallen from 17 percent in 2010 to 2 percent in2012. The cards offering toys, coins, or other types of add-onswere down from 14 percent to 2 percent.

The company’s team also observed less in-store-promotion than inprevious years.

Despite all of this, the gift cards still remain at the top ofpeople’s holiday wish lists, and the dollars loaded onto cardscontinue to increase year-over-year. It seems consumers are mostconcerned with the value of the card. When Mercator Advisory Groupasked gift card buyers about their interest in gift card perks, thetop three concepts that resonated with customers were free shippingfor online purchases, cards that return funds to the holder if theywent unused for a long period of time, and cards accepted atmultiple retailers.

The value of 3-D packing and special holders did not rate highly inMercator’s survey. The value of different card designs on the otherhand was not part of our questions. So it is hard to determine thevalue of things like lenticular cards and multiple designs, butanecdotally Mercator has heard from issuers that multiple designsmake a difference, especially around the holidays.

As closed-loop issuers gear up for the holiday season, they shouldexamine what factors have influenced their gift card sales in thepast, and what their competitors are doing to stand out when itcomes to gift cards. Although planning and production on cardsneeds to happen early, that is no reason for an issuer not toinnovate and come up with new strategies for reachingcustomers.

Please see the infographic here for a more in-depth review ofwhat Travel Tags found. If you need more information on the study,you can contact Martha Weaver, Marketing Manager at Travel Tags at651-288-8470 or

If your company has seen a benefit from multiple card designs,special carriers, or other promotions, please let me know. Mycontact information is below.

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