Consumers Turn to Digital Gift Cards Ahead of 2020 Holiday Season

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on November 30, 2020

Fiserv survey shows digital gift cards have become the pandemic gift of choice for many consumers

BROOKFIELD, Wis., November 23, 2020 – According to the October 2020 Gift Card Gauge released today by Fiserv, Inc., 65% of U.S. consumers say they will purchase a digital gift card on Black Friday if a merchant offers an incentive, one of several key findings in the new survey.

“Consumers are always looking for a deal, and this year, more than any other, they are looking for convenient ways to give touching gifts in a touchless manner,” said Dom Morea, senior vice president and head of Prepaid at Fiserv. “Gift cards, particularly digital gift cards, check all these boxes, and provide businesses an opportunity to market their brands, increase customer loyalty, and boost sales.” 

The Gift Card Gauge from Fiserv, a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, tracks consumer perceptions and attitudes about gift cards. The October 2020 Gift Card Gauge surveyed 1,107 American consumers age 18 and older about their purchase and use of physical and digital gift cards, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full results from the October Gift Card Gauge can be found below.

Support, Reward, and Celebrate
Gift cards have long been a way to celebrate a special occasion, such as a birthday, anniversary, or to give a gift during the holiday season. Their utility has extended in 2020 to be a medium for businesses to reward their employees, and for consumers to show their support for their favorite businesses. 

  • 37% of consumers have purchased a gift card from a merchant they frequent to help support them during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 30% of consumers have received a gift card from their employer as a bonus or reward during the pandemic
  • 33% of consumers say giving gift cards will enable them to still celebrate holidays at a time when in-person social interaction may be limited

Pandemic Purchasing: Gifting Trends Shift to Digital
Since March of 2020, when the spread of COVID-19 prompted the shutdown of many physical stores in the U.S., consumers have exhibited a preference for buying digital gift cards, and buying gift cards that can be used at online businesses. 

  • Consumers most frequently bought gift cards from online-only retailers (35%); traditional big box retailers (27%) and grocery stores (18%) 
  • 38% of consumers mostly purchased digital gift cards, compared to 36% of consumers who mostly purchased physical gift cards
  • 58% of consumers said they are buying gift cards online; 12% of consumers said they are buying gift cards via mobile apps

Trending Now: 30 Days of Gift Card Insights 
Consistent with digital trends that began in March, consumers focused their gift card purchases from mid-September to mid-October on digital gift cards, and preferred purchasing gift cards for online-only businesses.

  • The gift cards consumers purchased most were for online-only retailers (34%), big box retailers (20%) and coffee shops (18%)
  • 43% of consumers mostly purchased digital gift cards; 37% of consumers mostly purchased physical gift cards

Additional Resources:

About Fiserv

Fiserv, Inc. aspires to move money and information in a way that moves the world. As a global leader in payments and financial technology, the company helps clients achieve best-in-class results through a commitment to innovation and excellence in areas including account processing and digital banking solutions; card issuer processing and network services; payments; e-commerce; merchant acquiring and processing; and the Clover® cloud-based point-of-sale solution. Fiserv is a member of the S&P 500® Index and the FORTUNE® 500, and is among FORTUNE World's Most Admired Companies®. Visit fiserv.com and follow on social media for more information and the latest company news.