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Most Gift Card Purchasers Now Also Buy eGifts

For the first time, more than half of the buyers of physical gift cards have also tried egifts, according to new consumer research from Blackhawk Network. The shopper data shows that egifting is following the overall trend of consumers increasingly shopping and purchasing on mobile devices and online.

These virtual cards are delivered to recipients via email, social media or text message. eGifts can be redeemed in-store, online or via mobile devices.

“Physical gift cards still remain the top gifting choice, but our research indicates that retailers can make their gift card programs even more attractive by incorporating a robust egift element,” said Teri Llach, chief marketing officer for Blackhawk Network, a provider of prepaid gift cards, payments tools and rewards.

“Our shopper data confirms that mobile and digital acceptance has extended to gift cards. Consumers are increasing their overall purchase of gift cards because now they now have more control over the format for delivery and the speed of purchase, plus a wide selection of gift cards and egifts,” she said.  

Other key findings from the 2015 research, which surveyed approximately 2,000 Americans to examine their usage of gift cards and adoption of and sentiments toward egifts:  

  • Immediate gratification and convenience drive egift sales:  Fifty-three percent of the gift card buyers surveyed purchased an egift within the last year and 94 percent bought more or the same amount of egifts in the last 12 months compared to a year ago. The top reasons for doing so: egifts offer fast electronic delivery (51 percent), they are easier to purchase (41 percent) and they can be sent directly to a recipient who lives out of town, preventing the trouble of sending a gift (35 percent).
  • eGift redemption is not just online: eGifts are designed to drive shopper traffic in-store, online and on mobile for retailers. Most of the egift recipients surveyed redeem online (69 percent), but a significant amount redeem in store (46 percent). The egift purchasers surveyed report that they predominantly buy the products online (82 percent) followed by mobile phone (26 percent) and tablet (25 percent).
  • Significant opportunities for retailers to drive revenue with egift: Some 82 percent of egift recipients surveyed spend more than the egift value. Additionally, 76 percent say that hearing about a promotion encourages them to spend their egift and 75 percent tend to treat themselves when spending egifts.
  • eGifts are popular for a variety of gifting occasions and self-use: With regards to occasions, the consumers surveyed who purchase egifts report that they most frequently select the gifts for birthdays (58 percent), Christmas/winter holidays (37 percent) and for “just because” gifts with no formal occasion (24 percent). They most frequently purchase the gifts for family friends (35 percent), self-use (28 percent), relatives (27 percent) and siblings and children (both 22 percent).
  • More promotion of egift is needed to drive initial trial: Fifty-six percent of consumers surveyed who have never received an egift would be interested in getting one, yet 44 percent of shoppers surveyed who have never bought egifts report it's because they are not familiar with them. More than half (52 percent) of shoppers surveyed who have purchased egifts would buy an egift in store for immediate use, and this number jumps to 83 percent if there is a discount attached to the egift. 
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