Research shows a compelling shift in shopping habits over the festive season

Despite a festive spending slowdown, the GCVA, in collaboration with Global Data, reveals a compelling shift in shopping habits during the holiday season.

high street at christmas Their nationally representative survey of 2,000 consumers indicates that over 20 million gift cards were exchanged during Christmas 2023, with nearly a third (31 percent) of respondents receiving one.

Interestingly, almost a quarter (24 percent) of those surveyed received more gift cards than in previous years. Younger generations emerged as the primary recipients, with an astonishing 50 percent of those aged 16-24 unwrapping the gift of a gift card, compared to 18 percent among the 55-64 age group. The research also showed diverse reasons why gift cards are a popular choice. In addition to seeking to avoid waste or unwanted gifts, 20 percent chose gift cards with the intention of providing direct support to local businesses, emphasising the contribution of gift cards to the resurgence of community commerce.

Another 18 percent turned to gift cards when faced with the unavailability of physical gifts in stores, showing their value as a dependable option amidst the challenges of the retail environment. Additionally, 21 percent valued the convenience of having gift cards delivered, compared to the cost and hassle of wrapping and posting large physical presents. Previous GCVA research indicated that 44% of UK adults intended to reduce their gifting budgets, which set the tone for a spending slowdown during the 2023 Christmas period. However, a noteworthy trend was the significant increase in the purchase of gift cards for self-use. Almost two-fifths (38 percent) of self-use purchasers did so to manage and save money.

The Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA) is now on a mission to inspire over 20 million people in the UK who received gift cards this Christmas to celebrate self-care this Valentine's Day by encouraging them to redeem their unspent gift cards. Siobhan Moore, GCVA

Executive Co-Chair at the Gift Card & Voucher Association comments: "A self-care gift awaits - consumers should double-check their drawers, wallets, and purses; it's time to spend those gift cards and treat themselves this Valentine's Day. These winter months are the perfect time for shoppers to indulge, support local businesses, and bring a ray of sunshine into their day."

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