Facts About Gift Cards: New RGCA Data

GiftNow is a proud member of the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA), a group of over 100 gift card retailers and technology providers committed to promoting and protecting the use of retail gift cards. The RGCA was founded in 2008 to represent the closed-loop gift card industry. The RGCA hosts regular events for members, including a weekly discussion forum and its annual Forum which is being held this year in Washington D.C. on October 3-5. (For more information, on the Forum, click here.) They recently published some interesting facts about gift cards.

RGCA logo for Facts About Gift Cards

Facts About Gift Cards

The RGCA recently commissioned research from Hall and Partners on the gift card industry. Gift card usage regularly changes based on a variety of factors including, most recently, the economy and the impact of Covid. With the RGCA’s permission, we’re able to share a few interesting data points and observations from the research.

Who are People Buying Gift Cards For?

The top three recipients were:

  • Friends 
  • Spouses/partners
  • Other relatives

This leaves many other gifting occasions/recipients that could represent an opportunity for growth for the industry (such as co-workers, teachers, service providers, etc.) 

Physical, Digital or Both?

Research by Incisiv in 2021 showed that, while physical gift cards are still king, the use of digital gift cards is growing. The RGCA’s research also reflected this, from those surveyed in the second half of 2021:

  • 38% have bought physical (plastic) gift cards
  • 21% have bought digital gift cards
  • 41% have bought both physical and digital gift cards

The RGCA’s data provided additional detail on preference of form factor by demographic.  For example, it showed digital gift cards were preferred by men, 35-40 year olds, and those buying for self use. 

Why Gift Cards?

The RGCA commissioned research study found that there are five reasons people like to buy gift cards. While the full study results are reserved for the RGCA’s members, we can share that the top three reasons for choosing gift cards is because they are:

  • Easy
  • Flexible
  • Practical

The report does mention that there’s room for improvement for gift cards when it comes to prestige and personalization. Adding video or personal notes to their delivery can help to make giving a gift card a more personalized experience.

For more information about the report or the RGCA, please contact Megan Flanagan with the RGCA.

Later this quarter, we’ll be adding some additional gift card research and insights from Incisiv. And be sure to look for GiftNow at the RGCA Forum in October. Here are a couple of photos from last year’s event in Orlando to pique your interest.

RGCA general session in Orlando
RGCA event in Orlando
RGCA panel in Orlando

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Kevin Payne is Vice President of Marketing for GiftNow

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