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Motivating Millennials With Gift Cards

motivating millennials with gift cards

Gift cards are becoming an increasingly popular choice for motivating Millennials (we recently wrote about their preference for e-gifting) and according to a report from the NPD Group and UPenn’s Wharton School, gift cards are quite popular with the 18 to 34-year-old crowd. The report studies consumer behavior in the retail industry and how the landscape is changing with new technology. The study looked at retail trends across the generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials.

“The gift card share of wallet is higher for Millennials than for other age groups at mass merchants, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs.” Denise Dahlhoff & Sarah Wittenborn

Motivating Millennials:

Younger Millennials vs. Older Millennials

The Millennial generation has distinct purchasing differences even within their own group based on age and whether or not they have children. The younger Millennials (18-24-year-olds) view mobile technology as a way of life and have an affinity for app-based services. While the older Millennials (25-34-year-olds) tend to spend more overall on shopping.

Younger Millennial Trends

  • Mobile technology is a way of life
  • Prefer a shopping “experience” and appealing marketing
  • Prefer to buy gift cards in convenience stores, mass merchants and warehouse clubs.
  • Purchase accessories, footwear, and personal care products
  • Enjoy lifestyle apps, buying games, music, books, and tickets online
  • Online expenses with technology, travel services such as Uber, and food service delivery such as GrubHub

Older Millennial Trends

  • Interested in fashion and design retail, as well as Etsy
  • Those with children spend relatively more on baby products and toys
  • Purchases in department stores on appliances, footwear, and housewares
  • Online purchase of baby products, grocery and gourmet food, tickets, events, and travel
  • Online expenses also skew towards food service delivery, and travel services as well as specialty retailers, such as J. Crew and Sephora

As always there are exceptions. Millennials with children tend to have lower spending on gift cards, as well as pet supplies. Millennials without children buy more gift cards, gas, and health & beauty items. Older Millennials, along with those without children, purchase most of their gift cards at mass merchants in comparison to other generations.


GiftCard Partners teamed up with Shapiro+Raj to add additional insight on how gift cards are currently used in the U.S. Download our B2B Gift Card Study: Trends in Industry Behavior webcast to learn more.

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

Gift Card Trends 2015: Year in Review

gift card trends2015 was a huge year for gift cards. For the first time, gift card sales reached $130 billion, while e-gifting rose 26% and represented $7.1 billion in volume. Here are some of the other gift card trends the industry experienced in 2015 from The Gift Card Network.

  • Digital Outsourcing – Most retailers now offer a digital gift card and those retailers are outsourcing their digital gift card delivery to a third party processor. Why? Many third parties offer a higher level of fraud protection and abundant IT resources to deliver a unique experience for each retailer.
  • Acquisitions – Everywhere you look, card manufacturers are buying other card manufacturers, processors are acquiring digital platforms and apps, and fulfillment companies are consolidating. This is making it easier for gift card program managers to meet all their needs in one place, as opposed to having multiple vendors.
  • The Rise of Aggregators – Consumers want gift cards, whether it’s for themselves to use or to give them as gifts. We no longer need to convince consumers or retailers of their value. With that, new distributors are entering the gift card space and introducing new avenues for brands to extend their reach. We are expecting many more new opportunities and concepts to be introduced in 2016.
  • Online Gift Cards – eGift cards used to be an afterthought for many retailers, but with the rise of both online and mobile sales, retailers are rethinking their website experiences. Brands that are not featuring their cards online will continue to lose out on sales.
  • Sustainable Gift Cards – PVC used to be the prime material used in card production, but now more brands are choosing an environmentally friendly option such as paper or wood. These cards work just as well as PVC with no reported customer service issues, and the card costs have come more in line with PVC. Check out this article on the Paper and Wood Myths Campaign.

Read 4 more gift card trends at All Payments Live!


The B2B gift card space is constantly evolving – What is your brand bringing to the table? Download our whitepaper The Evolving B2B Gift Card Channel and learn the best opportunities to grow your business.
Download Now

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

2015 Gift Card Sales Reach $130 Billion

2015 gift card sales

2015 gift card sales in the U.S. reach $130 billion, a 6% increase over 2014.

2015 gift cards sales are just the beginning as gift card sales are predicted to reach $160 billion by 2018. E-gifting had the largest increase, rising to 26% in 2015, representing $7.1 billion in volume. E-gifting is also expected to support the overall payment industry growth. Long-term prospects for e-gifting remain promising as more payment services become mainstream and plastic cards make the switch to digital.

“Consumers continue to enjoy the convenience of giving and receiving gift cards in all forms,” said CEB Principal Executive Advisor Brian Riley.  “Both retailers and financial institutions have prioritized gift cards as a central to their strategies for gaining share of customers’ (increasingly digital) wallets.”

The amount of breakage (spillage), also known as unused gift card volume, continued to significantly decline, resulting in less than 1% of total volume. Regulatory action (Credit CARD act) has tightened rules on retailers, making it more difficult for stores to cancel unused cards or charge inactivity fees. This helps to prevent retailers from quickly cashing in on breakage. Customers have also caught on and appear to be finding more ways to avoid breakage. Even if there is only a small amount left on a gift card the consumers are finding a way to use them. But there is still a positive for retailers, as this usually means more lift (the amount that the customer spends over the value of the gift card)!

Other key findings:

  • Open network branded cards grew to $48 billion (up 6.7%)
  • Retailer cards grew to $43 billion (up 4.9%)
  • The restaurant and miscellaneous categories both showed limited growth with $19 billion and $13 billion, respectively.

Read the full press release from CEB Global, here.

With continued growth, the 2018 prediction of $160 billion could very well be surpassed with ease.  What are you expecting from the gift card payments industry in 2016?

 

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

2015 Holiday Gift Card Trends

Holiday Gift card trends

The holidays are rapidly approaching and we have the latest in shopping and holiday gift card trends for this season!

According to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, consumers will spend an average of $805.65 on food, decorations, gifts, and more this holiday season, the highest amount in the survey’s 15-year history!

Top findings of consumers surveyed showed:

  • 46% of browsing and buying this holiday season will be done online
  • 4% of smartphone owners will use their device to purchase merchandise this year, the highest since 2011
  • 7% said free shipping/shipping promotions are important factors in their decision on where to shop

Back in 2008, the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) launched its Pulse Study, tracking industry suppliers and program owners for their view on the economy’s impact on merchandise and gift card programs. Now, 7 years later, trends are looking the best they have in years. The overall impact of the economy is a positive one and budgets are up.

Holiday gift card trends, merchandise preferences and more this season:

  1. Positive Impacts on Program Design – Less businesses believe that economic conditions are having a negative impact on gift card and incentive programs.
  2. Budgets are Trending Upwards – 50% of planners will increase their budgets this year; per person spending is also up.
  3. Experiences Lead the Way – The economy is being tailored to different age groups to offer more relevant and robust experiences.
  4. Limited Luxury – There is a balance between what we need and what is considered a luxury item. Electronics and open-ended gift cards (think Visa branded) are now popular items for programs.
  5. Wellness – Boosting wellness and rewarding those who engage in wellness continues to grow in popularity.

Read 5 more trends from The IRF Pulse Study here!

“58.8% consumers celebrating the holidays say they would like to receive gift cards as a gift.”

Gift cards have been the most requested gift by consumers for the last 9 years! It’s easy to thank everyone this season with gift cards. Gift cards help your employees, vendors, and customers remember their holiday gift and make buying and giving more convenient and budget friendly.

GiftCard Partners helps companies select the right card that will leave a lasting impression on employees, vendors, and customers. We also provide our clients gift cards,  such as CVS/pharmacy®, Whole Foods Market, The Cheesecake Factory and more, at discounts based on the volume of your order.

Call us today at 1.800.413.9101 or place your order now, just in time for the holidays!

Place order now!


Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

The B2B Gift Card Market is Changing, Are You Keeping Up?

B2B Gift Card Market

The B2B gift card market is ever changing, especially in the Business-to-Business or B2B sector of the market. The B2B sector, which includes third party gift cards, loyalty and incentive programs, corporate wellness and more, now stretches to make up a significant piece of the gift card market.

52% of consumers who received a gift card in the past 12 months, got it through a B2B channel.*

By commissioning Shapiro+Raj Research to run a national survey on consumers in 2013, we set out to learn more about their purchasing habits when it came to gift cards in the B2B channels. In addition, we also took a closer look at the effects B2B gift cards have on businesses in the retailer and merchant space.

Register now!

The findings from our 2013 survey are outlined in our white paper, Emerging Trends in Gift Card Behavior and Usage.

Also, check out the full On-Demand Webcast, U.S. Survey on Gift Card Usage, for a more detailed look at the research.

In order to track these changes in the B2B gift card market, and stay on top of B2B gift card trends, GiftCard Partners Inc. and Shapiro + Raj have teamed up for a second time.

GiftCard Partners, Inc. will be holding a live webinar, highlighting what we’ve learned in our latest survey on B2B gift card market trends, such as the emergence of online retailers as a preferred gift by consumers.

2015 B2B Gift Card Market Study – Trends in Industry Behaviors
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm EST

Register now!

Seats are limited so sign up quickly! We are one week away!

*2015 B2B Gift Card Market Study, GiftCard Partners, Inc. commissioned survey by Shapiro+Raj Research

Personalizing Gift Cards

personalizing gift cards

The biggest drawback consumers (and employers) have with gift cards is that some say they are impersonal. The stigma is, when giving a gift card, you are essentially giving cold hard cash, only good at one location. However, with the mainstream advent of digital gift cards and digital gifting, personalizing gift cards is easier than ever, not to mention a big hit with recipients.

With companies like Gift Card Impressions, both consumers gifting to each other and employers gifting rewards to employees have the opportunity to personalize this $118 billion gift card industry. And with the 50% year-over-year growth shown specifically in the digital gift card industry, personalization could be key to even steeper growth and better end results for retailers.

Imagine the opportunity for employers to attach a photo, video or personal message while giving their “employee of the month” a reward for their awesome behavior and performance. It provides a lasting impression on the receiver and frankly makes the gift given look even better and more caring than if they had just given the gift alone.

Gift card personalization goes back to one of the most basic constructs of gift card incentives. Trophy value. Gift cards provide greater trophy value than cash, they leave a lasting impression. Personalizing that trophy value only increases it.

How are you giving your employee rewards? Are they personalized? Let us know in the comments.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Ensure Your Third-Party Gift Cards are Properly Merchandised and in Stock

third-party-gift-cardThe third-party gift card segment has consistently been one of the fastest growing gift card distribution channels for the last seven years. Third-party can easily be your largest sales channel outside of your own stores. Actively engaging in third-party sales can increase your brand footprint, reaching consumers that may have not known about your brand otherwise. Having ongoing, frequent dialogue with your third-party aggregator is key to understanding what exactly their retail partners are doing to drive your gift card sales.

The aggregators provide you with access to your sales, but do you know why your sales may be trending up or down? Ensuring that your third-party gift cards are properly merchandised and in stock is one of the most critical components to why your sales may be trending positively or negatively. If your gift card is not available when a customer wants to buy it, you have a lost a sale and a visit to your establishment. Here is a list of additional questions to consider when analyzing your third-party program:

  • Why are gift card sales trending up/down within specific partner/s?
  • Are we aware of all marketing opportunities available to our brand? Paid or unpaid.
  • Was our brand included in marketing and promotions?
  • Where is our gift card displayed on the main rack and throughout the store?
  • How many pegs does our gift card occupy?
  • Is our gift card in stock? Are the pegs full? What percentage of the time?
  • Does adequate inventory exist to maintain in-stock availability?
  • Is our latest gift card design and logo being presented?
  • Which competitors’ gift cards are also available?
  • Are we confident the information received from the third party aggregator is accurate?

The answers to these questions are critical to managing this large, highly visible segment of your gift card business. A gift card audit can answer the questions listed and provide objective data as support. The results of an audit will provide a roadmap for improving sales and improving the performance of the third party aggregators. To learn more, click here .

Cameron has over ten years of experience in the prepaid industry that includes the development, sales and marketing of gift card programs for large, nationwide retailers and hospitality operators. His expertise in identifying and developing distribution channels and maximizing third-party distribution enables our clients to achieve their goals.

Online Gift Cards Are The Future In 2015

Online purchasing and mobile apps have been a go-to in our lives both personally and professionally, and this trend is growing in the gift card world as well.  Purchasing online gift cards are becoming the industry standard.

According to First Data’s 2014 Consumer Insights survey, in comparison to 2013, more people chose online gift card purchasing.  Purchasing online gift cards increased to 34% in 2014 – up from 26% in 2013.  The purchase of gift cards using social networks, such as Facebook, increased from 8% in 2013 to 13% in 2014.  Both plastic and e-gift cards can be purchased online.  Overall, 81% of respondents planned on purchasing the same or more plastic gift cards than in 2013 and 84% planned on purchasing the same or more e-gift cards than in 2013.

Gift card apps came to the forefront in 2014.  55% of consumers are interested in using an app to store gift card information on their mobile devices and 58% of consumers said they would prefer to use one app to store multiple merchants instead of using separate apps for each.  With more than 13% of gift card purchases in 2014 made through the use of a mobile app, mobile apps are becoming mandatory for a successful gift card strategy.

For more insight into the First Data Consumer Insights Survey click here!

 

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

Gift Card Spending to Rise this Holiday Season

gift-card-holidayThe National Retail Federation has announced that this holiday season, if all goes according to plan, spending on gift cards will break all previous records. NRF predicts gift card spending will reach $31.74 billion, up 83% since gift card spending tracking began in 2003.

What does this mean? It’s simple. Gift cards are the perfect gift. They are easy for the giver, they are guaranteed to please the receiver, and the price is set. It fits the budget, and is easy. Could any holiday-shopping-crazed consumer ask for anything else? We don’t think so either.

The important thing to remember is that gift cards work for everyone. This means not just your friends and family, but anyone else you might need to give gifts too. Providing small gifts to employees at the end of the year is a great way to say thanks. It’s a small act of appreciation. It could be as simple as giving them a gift to a grocer to help curb the cost of their Thanksgiving or holiday dinner.

So, as everything starts to get crazy later this week, with presents and decorations and wrapping paper, keep it simple and everyone will be happy.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

2014 Holiday Gift Card Spending to Top $31 Billion

This year holiday gift card spending on both plastic and digital gift cards will top all previous records with sales expecting to reach over $31 billion!  Gift cards have shed their reputation of being impersonal and have emerged as the perfect practical gift item for millions of holiday shoppers and are the most requested holiday gift for the 8th year in a row.

Shoppers are expected to spend an average of $47.87 a card, up 6% over last year.  Since the National Retail Federation began tracking customers holiday purchasing intentions in 2003, the total spend on gift cards has increased 83%. “Consumers young and old want to find the best way possible to create a happy holiday experience for their loved ones, and gift cards are a great option every time.”  Gift cards are a go-to gift for consumers of all ages; adults 65+ will spend the most on gift cards, while young adults will spend the least.  In addition, men will spend almost 10% more than women on gift card purchases.

The following charts provide more insight into the 2014 NRF survey results, check out more here.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 7.01.27 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 7.01.44 AM

About the Survey

The NRF 2014 Gift Card Spending Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 6,593 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics, November 3-10, 2014. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points. Download complete survey results here!

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.