As shoppers faced historically high prices, gift cards enabled consumers to stay within their budgets and adjust for inflation during the record-breaking 2022 holiday season.
These findings come from newly released data revealed this week by the Blackhawk Network, a leading provider of prepaid, rewards, and incentive-based payment solutions.
What you need to know: According to consumer research and Blackhawk’s own U.S. sales data, gift card sales have continued to grow in the U.S., with double-digit increases in both ecommerce and e-gift sales.
With historically high prices, budgeting, deals, and promotions remained top priorities for consumers during the peak holiday shopping season.
According to the survey, nearly half of consumers (48%) did more holiday shopping online in 2022 versus the year before, stating that saving money was the primary driver.
53% opted for online shopping to find better deals and promotions, and 36% did it to limit driving and save on gas.
Among consumers who purchased gift cards this holiday season, six out of ten said it helped them stay within their budgets.
Data from Blackhawk also shows that the average value loaded onto gift cards over the holiday season grew in line with inflation, suggesting that gift-givers considered rising costs when determining gift amounts.
What they said: “Gift cards have become a holiday mainstay for retailers and consumers, but our research also shows that innovations and shifts in consumer behavior have helped gift cards to also evolve into a gifting and payment option offering multiple benefits for merchants, shoppers and recipients,” said Jay Jaffin, chief marketing officer, Blackhawk Network.
“From budgeting and leveraging promotions to using gift cards for self-use and seamless digital payments, gift card innovations are giving shoppers more options while providing meaningful experiences to recipients and helping to drive sustained growth for the industry.
“In turn, the increasing consumer demand has made gift cards a key marketing tool for retailers, not just at holiday, but year-round.”
Gift Card Spending
What else is worth noting: The average consumer received six gift cards, totaling about $200 this holiday season.
Nearly 8 out of 10 consumers intend to spend more than the value of their gift cards, spending an additional $75 on average above the value they received.
Twenty-three percent of consumers surveyed who received gift cards also said that at least one gift card was for a merchant they had never tried in the past. This presents an opportunity for off- and online retailers as well as brands to expand their customer base.
And lastly, Blackhawk’s survey found that more than half of consumers (58%) plan to spend their gift cards in the first two months of the year.
In light of the uncertain economy this year, this may help merchants and brands boost sales early this year, bringing some confidence that 2023 will be okay.
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