E-shoppers would swap brands for e-gift cards
More than half of online shoppers (54%) were planning gift card purchases during the 2010 holiday shopping season, and nearly one quarter of those waited until the week before the holiday to make their purchase, according to a pre-Christmas study by digital gifting and incentives provider CashStar.
The '2010 Pre-Holiday Online Shopper Gift Card Survey' found that 70% of online shoppers said they would buy a different brand if a retailer or restaurant did not offer an e-gift card option for their last-minute Christmas purchases.
"The first billion dollar Cyber Monday signified a true milestone for e-commerce and its role as the channel for holiday giving," said CashStar CEO, David Stone. "E-gift cards successfully extended online sales for retailers by a minimum of three days, as they were simply not dependent on shipping deadlines and postal cut-off dates."
But perhaps just as importantly, e-gift cards have also been found to increase brand satisfaction and customer loyalty. In fact, an overwhelming 83% of survey respondents said that, if their favorite retailer offered a personalised e-gift card option, it would improve their perceived image of that retailer.
However, unlike their plastic predecessors, e-gift cards are praised by many users for their ability to be customised with personal photos and messages for each recipient. This high degree of personalisation is proving to be an important consumer motivator, with more than half of survey respondents reporting that they had decided against purchasing a traditional gift card in the past because they felt it was not a personal enough gift.
There has also been strong interest in advanced personalisation features (such as in-built video) with more than one third (34%) of respondents expressing interest in including a short video when sending an e-gift card.
In addition to personalisation, year-on-year, the survey found that convenience and incentives are important drivers of gift card sales. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of consumers agree that buying personalised digital gift cards online is more convenient than buying plastic cards in a store. Moreover, an overwhelming 89% said they would be more likely to purchase a gift card if they were given an incentive (such as a "give one, get one" offer).
Among the survey's other key findings:
- More consumers planned to do their holiday shopping online in 2010 (41%) compared to 2009 (33%).
- While restaurants remained the most popular gift card category for holiday giving, the highest-growing categories included: movie/event gift cards (from 19% in 2009 to 29% in 2010); restaurants (from 59% in 2009 to 67% in 2010); and general retail (from 56% in 2009 to 64% in 2010).
- Some 60% of respondents said they had used a mobile device to redeem coupons, and 20% expressed interest in purchasing digital gift cards using their mobile phone.