Insights from Money20/20: How Consumers are Driving Gift Card Innovation

by Timm Walsh 0

Each year, Money20/20 gathers payments industry experts fromacross the globe to talk about new trends and innovations in the industry. Aswith previous years, gift cards and egifts were an integral part of the prepaidconversation.

The RetailGift Card Association(RGCA) was on hand to announce new findings from our annual shopper research,and provided insights about the continued demand for gift cards and egifts. Wealso had some new insights into new gift card uses and applications consumersare adopting.

To no surprise,our survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers found Americans’ affinity for giftcards remains high. We found gift card shoppers value omnichannel flexibilitywhen making their purchases, and egift adoption is significant among consumerswith 62 percent now completely or somewhat understanding how to redeem them.

Our research alsouncovered some new and unique ways shoppers are incorporating gift cards aspart of the payments process:

  • Self-use. More than one in three U.S. shoppers buy gift cards for both gifts and self-use. Six percent of Americans buy gift cards only for self-use – not as gifts. When asked, consumers said the top reasons for self-use are to qualify for special loyalty deals or discounts (45 percent) and to help stick to a budget (35 percent).
  • Storage in mobile wallets. Nearly half (46 percent) of Americans still prefer to hand cashiers a physical gift card, but 14 percent would now prefer to load all their gift cards into a mobile wallet for easier storage and redemption. The remaining 40 percent of consumers are open to using either option.
  • Gift card exchanges. 40 percent of Americans have heard of gift card exchanges and a quarter of consumers are interested in using one in the future. (Not all gift card exchange services are created equal, and consumers should research their options before using one. We have created tips for doing so that shoppers can use to educate themselves.)

Shoppers appear to be embracing these new options, all thewhile maintaining a demand for traditional gift cards—roughly three quarters ofshoppers plan to buy a plastic gift card this year. Money20/20 has provided avaluable opportunity for payments industry stakeholders to discuss theseinnovations and their potential impact on the industry as we move into 2017.

TimmWalsh is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Retail Gift CardAssociation,the only nonprofit trade association that represents the closed-loop giftcategory. The Association’s mission is to protect, promote and enhance the useof retail gift cards.

The RGCA consumer gift card study was conducted via independent onlinesurvey in April 2016 with more than 1,000 adult respondents. The sample wasrepresentative of the adult U.S. population in terms of education, income, andgender.

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