Among the more interesting new digital shopping behaviors that emerged out of lockdown was the gift of giving – egiving with egifts, which by the end of 2020, soared in terms of sales.
Research from a post-holiday report found that, among consumer spending, there was
- an increase of approximately just over 80% in digital gift card sales.
- It also discovered a 40% boost in overall digital gift card sales during the holiday season.
- Plus, brands and retailers who promoted the use of digital gift cards earned a 37% revenue boost.
“Digital adoption will continue and is here to stay,” stated Theresa McEndree, head of marketing for Blackhawk Network, the company responsible for the research. “This stream of digital shoppers will benefit retail sales in the first quarter of the year.
“Nearly half of consumers surveyed expect to spend at least $25 more than the value of their gift cards. Many plan to spend them within the first few months following the holiday season.”
Brands and retailers who want to promote the usage of egift cards will ultimately look to their tech stack to craft the functionality. There are even plugins or extensions that handle such a task. For example, on the Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud platform, they provide a number of extensions (what Salesforce calls “cartridges”) that facilitate the usage of egifts, such as Egift Card, which is a tech solution built in SFRA, the latest version of SF B2C that puts mobile front and center of its ecommerce strategy – i.e fit for today’s world.
What were the top findings sieved from the data?
Following on from the fact that among surveyed consumers, almost 70% of their holiday shopping come from online, ecommerce gift cards sales sped beyond pre-holiday projections and almost doubled the 12% growth it saw in 2019.
The boost in egift cards was enveloped within the greater waves of ecommerce that hit the commerce shores.
Like other ecommerce analysts, we believe that the increase in ecommerce represented a quantitative shift (more and more consumers shifting to online) and a qualitative shift (new tech innovations and tools, such as click and collect, contactless, etc.)
And this digital adoption is going to stick into the long future. As one example, almost ¼ of shoppers used a mobile wallet for the first time during the holiday season of 2020. And another: 37% of shoppers said that they expected to adopt new payment methods such as mobile wallets.
When it came to egift cards, the average value was close to $45. But what’s more, 6/10 of these shoppers intend to spend more than the value of their egift card.
Who are the cards for?
Consumers are actually, more frequently, buying egift cards for… themselves, as well as using them to support local businesses.
“Do not forget that many are buying gift cards not as gifts, but as investments in retailers to support their business,” said Nikki Baird, VP of retail innovation at Aptos.
Hit incredibly hard during the last year, egift cards provide a useful way to show support for local shops that are, more than anything, loyal to the local area.
In the past, gift cards were widely considered too impersonal, the non-gift gift for people who put little thought into what to buy. During the last year, however, the convenience and safety of sending egift cards far outweighed the lazy perspective. Plus, when your only way of interacting is online through a screen, an egift card doesn’t seem all that impersonal.
“I think that reluctance around gift cards will not come back. The convenience factor of buying, gifting, and redeeming are all just too high for consumers to discontinue the practice,” added Nikki.
Just imagine if you had – rather than bought an egift card for a loved one, let’s call her Susie – bought that nice thick sweater that she had her eye on months ago. Sure it’s never been easier to buy something online and ship it somewhere else. But what if you got the size of the sweater wrong? Susie would need to exchange it for one that’s in her size. So Susie now has to go out into the physical world with her mask and hand gel and social distance the entire time – well done. Look what you’ve made Susie deal with! Just give her an egift card so that she can choose it herself, fitted to her new size.
Of course, convenience has always been one of our priorities when shopping, and digital gifts have been front of center of this strategy during lockdowns, as well as being ideal for people who you are unsure what would be ideal for them, given that they’re probably not seen them in person for quite a long time.
There’s also the small environmental lift to digital gifts as there is no need to wrap a gift or ship it. So egift cards come with no environmental tax.
A firm favorite
It’s been common knowledge among analytical insiders for quite some time that gift cards are actually the #1 desired gift during the holiday season.
“So it is no surprise that digital gift cards are a popular gift when people are not gathering together to exchange gifts in-person,” added Meaghan Brophy, ecommerce analyst over at Fit Small Business.
There is also the growing issue of shipping cost and delays that had been growing into the holiday season and into 2021. Digital gift cards obviously, by their nature, guarantee a no-cost, no-delay delivery.
And so, taken together, the post-pandemic ecommerce landscape will not sustain its smoking level of growth, yet it is set to stabilize at a higher level, with egift cards certainly continuing in popularity given their convenience to both buyer and receiver, as well as the loosening stigma attached to them.