Who are Online Gift Card Purchasers & What Do They Really Think about Their Purchase Experiences?

by Gerry Gilbert 0

It hardly comes as a surprise that gift cards are an increasingly important offering for merchants of all sizes. According to the CEB TowerGroup 2015 Gift Cards Report, overall gift card sales reached $129.7 billion in 2015, with digital gift cards showing the greatest growth of any segment, up 26 percent to $7.1 billion in 2015. While the market is growing and many merchants understand the chief benefits offering gift cards can bring – like new customers, loyalty-building and increased purchase frequency from existing customers – many are left wanting to know more about who these gift card purchasers are and what makes them tick.

To help merchants understand more about the consumers that purchase digital and plastic gift cards online, CashStar and Libran Research & Consulting published a new report titled, “Gift Cards Through the Eyes of Consumers.” The report is based on research conducted in February 2016 and features insights from the more than 800 consumers who purchased gift cards through the CashStar platform and chose to provide feedback about their purchase experience and gift card buying habits. The report investigates who purchases gift cards online, how satisfied they are with the purchase experience, which features are most important to them, and what role gift card promotions play in purchase decisions. Here are a few of the highlights that the report uncovered about today’s online gift card buyers:

Purchase Satisfaction is High: An overwhelming 91 percent of purchasers are satisfied with the online gift card purchase experience and 80 percent said they are likely to both purchase gift cards online again and to recommend purchasing gift cards online to others. This data is a good sign for the continued adoption of digital gift cards.

Online Purchasers are Leading the Charge toward Digital: 40 percent of the respondents’ closed loop gift card purchases are digital. When contrasted with general industry data which shows digital gift cards represent less than 10 percent of closed loop gift card spending, it seems clear that these are the consumers who are helping to drive the rapid growth in digital gift cards.

They’re Planners, Not Procrastinators: While popular perception is that gift cards are last-minute gifts and are given without much thought, the data shows that gift card purchases are both thoughtful and planned by givers. For those that purchased gift cards as gifts, almost half
report that a primary motivation doing so was because they thought the recipient would appreciate a gift card more than a regular gift and one-third of purchasers wanted
to let the recipient pick their own gift. Only five percent of respondents said they purchased a gift card because they ran out of time. This may be an important insight for merchants that position gift cards solely as last-minute gifts.

Personalization Matters: More than three-quarters of gift card purchasers are interested in some type of personalization. Interest is strongest for basic options, so giving shoppers the option to personalize messages and choose from a wide selection of gift card designs is key to any merchant’s digital gift card strategy.

Promotions Drive Substantial Revenue: Promotions were a driver of nearly one in five gift card purchases. As consumers are increasingly looking for deals, gift card promotions entice them to make branded gift card purchases when they otherwise may not have. In fact in 2015, CashStar merchants that promoted during the holiday period saw sales three to five times stronger than those who didn’t promote.

To learn more about “Gift Cards Through the Eyes of Consumers,” please visit: http://go.cashstar.com/Gift_Cards_Through_the_Eyes_of_Consumers_Report.