The popularity of gift cards has reached new heights

Were you aware that the global gift card market is projected to expand from $800 billion to $1.6 trillion by 2027, adding an impressive $800 billion in just four years?

Upon closer examination of the latest trends research, the reason for this remarkable growth in gift card usage becomes evident.

Now is an opportune moment to start incorporating gift cards as rewards or incentives, or to optimize your existing rewards program. Gift cards have firmly established themselves in the market and show no signs of fading away. Here’s a summary of the latest statistics to substantiate this claim.

Gift Cards Remain Highly Popular

Before you invest in logo merchandise like water bottles or hoodies for your customers, employees, or recipients, take note of these trends.

For 16 consecutive years, gift cards have been the most requested gift, as per the National Retail Federation. This is further supported by BHN’s recent research, indicating that 85% of people prefer receiving a gift card over a specific item.

This preference is understandable. Whether it’s a reward for a job well done or a survey completion, most individuals would rather choose something they know they’ll like than receive a gift they’ll likely set aside for donations.

Over Half of People Buy Gift Cards for Themselves

Surprisingly, 58% of people purchase gift cards for personal use, according to BHN research. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, gift cards offer a faster and more convenient way to pay, especially for digital purchases.

Additionally, people use gift cards to take advantage of promotions, discounts, or points offers. For instance, one popular promotion allows customers to earn fuel points at grocery stores when buying gift cards. In fact, 87% of shoppers are more inclined to make a purchase if a gift card promotion is available.

Rise of Multi-Brand Gift Cards

Gift cards initially emerged as extensions of gift certificates for single retailers. However, there is now an abundance of multi-brand options.

For instance, the Gap Options card covers various brands such as Old Navy, The Gap, Athleta, and Banana Republic, giving recipients different price points to spend their rewards. Themed card options are also popular, offering recipients choices like Game & Grub, which includes Xbox and GameStop, Buffalo Wild Wings and Domino’s, along with GrubHub delivery.

Multi-brand gift cards are not only more widely available but are also gaining popularity, as indicated by the latest trends research. BHN’s 2022 post-holiday survey shows that multi-brand gift cards were preferred by 33% of respondents, compared to 27% in 2021.

The numbers from BHN research also indicate that recipients desire more diverse choices:

  • 43% of those surveyed view multi-brand gift cards as thoughtful since they can choose where to spend them.
  • As the value of the gift card increases, recipients are more likely to prefer the flexibility of multi-brand options or prepaid cards like Mastercard and Visa.

The Growing Popularity of Gift Cards

If the trends research hasn’t already convinced you to utilize gift cards as rewards for employees, customers, and survey participants, consider this final statistic: Nearly two-thirds (62%) of consumers have bought a gift card in the past year. With such increasing popularity, there has never been a better time to leverage gift cards to benefit your business.