Mitch Langford
Business Developer
March 30, 2017

E-Gift Cards: Where Are They Now?

A 2010 article in HR magazine reviewed e-gift cards (electronic gift cards) and forecast their growth in the incentive industry.  It focused on the leading advantage of e-gift cards as the immediacy of award delivery, and how it is an overall more positive experience for the person receiving the award. Another possible benefit included reduced costs for gift card fulfillment, labor, and shipping. In 2010, there were only a few retailers testing the waters in digitizing gift cards, with the prospect of many more joining them in the years to come.

Fast Forward
In 2016, a Prepaid Consumer Insights study was conducted which surveyed 3,650 consumers, and showed that gift card use is stronger than ever. Additionally, e-gift cards are quickly gaining popularity, just as the 2010 report had suggested. We recently spoke about the benefits of using gift cards in your incentive program. If your organization is already using gift cards, chances are some of them might already be mobile.


Why use mobile gift cards?
Data from all three age groups surveyed, which ranged in ages from 18-55 and over, showed that consumers are using e-gift cards more than ever. It’s no surprise that people are busier, and also using their mobile devices more frequently today. Have you ever gotten to the store, only to realize that you left your gift card for that retailer at home on the counter? Or perhaps you can relate to the dread of coming to the realization that you lost a gift card you received in December which you were saving to buy new patio furniture? E-gift cards solve those problems. As long as you have your mobile device with you, you need not worry about remembering to grab your gift card off the counter, or losing it all together. Consumers agree, and the most commonly reported benefits include: convenience, no need to carry around the physical card, and you are less likely to lose the cards. Other benefits include the ability to use apps that store your mobile gift cards in one convenient place, as well as personal notifications via text or email alerting you about gift card balance or other offers from that specific retailer.|

Will the trend continue?
Don’t get me wrong… physical gift cards aren’t going anywhere. However, with many factors such as data analysis being more readily available, it’s likely that mobile gift card use will continue to grow. Additional 2017 research from Incentive Magazine, specifically regarding holiday shopping, showed the continued rise of digital gifting, and even concluded: “We are sure to see this trend carry through to influence the rewards and incentives space even further in the year to come.” The expectation of instant gratification, as well as the ever-growing online shopping platform, will continue to fuel the growth of the mobile gift card. They got it right seven years ago, so it’s looking like the trend will continue for the foreseeable future.


Sources:

http://www.incentivemag.com/Gift-Cards/Retail/Self-Purchasing-of-Gift-Cards-on-the-Rise/ 

https://www.firstdata.com/en_us/insights/prepaid-consumer-insight-study-2016.html 

http://marketinginnovators.com/blog/gift-card-trophy-value-why-cash-is-not-king 

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.usegiftcards.org/resource/collection/C42DF298-DA7F-460C-B80C-D2639A5FAEC0/SHRM_MobileGiftCards2010.pdf

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