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4 Gift Card Trends to Watch in 2021

While the preferences and lifestyles of customers consistently change, so do the trends within the gift card industry. As a trusted gift card services provider, Card Market regularly measures and evaluates trends within the gift card industry in order to better serve you. We encourage merchants to stay in-tune with the latest consumer trends in order to grow sales and maintain relevance with their customer base. 

What influences the trends within the gift card industry? Much like your customer base, the reasons are varied and unique according to the economic climate. A mix of factors such as why and what kinds of gift cards are being purchased, as well as who is purchasing them are all important to analyze when planning and implementing your gift card campaign. 

Consider these four leading trends within the gift card industry and how to utilize this knowledge to increase gift card sales.

The Influence of the Pandemic

We have recently surpassed the anniversary of when the pandemic lockdown measures were taken into effect; this gives us an entire year’s worth of data regarding consumer habits and trends to evaluate. 

What we’ve found so far? E-gifting reigned supreme, especially in the home entertainment and dining (take-out) categories. During quarantine, consumers regularly began using e-gift cards as a way in which to tell loved ones that they were missed, sparking a sharp increase in open-loop, e-commerce gift card spending. 

Increasing Demand in the Corporate Sector

Another tie-in to the changes to the industry brought on by COVID-19 was that employees were more often rewarded with gift cards from their employers. Throughout the last year, working conditions have been adverse, to say the least, whether that has meant employees who brave exposure at the office or those who work from home with children in isolation. 

Employers quickly recognized that incentives and rewards must be prioritized in order to retain key employees. Gift cards have also been increasingly used to encourage employees to meet sales goals or complete timely projects during the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the most popular gift cards used as corporate rewards include those from the dining category. 

Open-Loop Gift Cards

As we previously mentioned, open-loop gift card purchases are currently on the rise. It’s no surprise, as it takes the guesswork out of gift-giving; especially when the gifter is an employer who might not know the individual personally. Open-loop gift cards can be redeemed at various locations and can serve many different needs of your friends and family—groceries, take-out, gas, etc., making them a good option to offset the income changes spurred by the pandemic. 

How to Benefit as a Merchant

After analyzing these current trends in the gift card industry, it’s clear that there are certain strategies that merchants can engage in to maximize their sales. For example, as online shopping has increased, it is important that businesses ensure their websites offer gift card sales capabilities

Additionally, as we learn that gift cards are becoming increasingly popular amongst the corporate sector, it’s time to adjust your social media marketing efforts accordingly; marketing gift cards as not just gifts, but also as rewards or incentive tools is a great place to start. Maybe even offer business bulk discounts!

These are just a few ideas, but after further analyzing trends, brainstorming with your marketing team, and finding a trusted gift card specialist, we are confident you will be ready to tackle the new market trends with ease.

Stay Ahead of the Curve with Your Gift Card Sales

Contact us today to schedule a consultation! Our team is equipped and ready to serve your gift card needs.

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