Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - March/April 2024

34 Local gift cards are driving spend in high streets and downtowns around the world, says fintech Miconex as it shares key insights from its local gift card programmes in the UK, Ireland, Canada and the USA. The range of independent businesses which accept Miconex’s local gift cards – usually alongside a range of national brands – makes the cards unique in the sector. A typical 50 percent, and up to 100 percent, of its local gift cards are redeemed with independent shops, restaurants and venues. Retail was top for redemptions of local gift cards in 2023 in the UK. Primark, M&S, Boots, Argos, TK Maxx, Next, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Dunnes Stores and Aldi were within the top national retailers. New national retailers including Co-op, Smyths Toys and Lidl joined the economy boosting local gift card programmes in 2023. Hospitality was another big winner with local gift card redemptions in the UK in 2023 with food and drink brands such as Giggling Squid, Bills and Bettys some of the most popular eateries. Arts and cultural venues also benefited with independent venues including Aberdeen Performing Arts and Bristol’s Watershed emerging as popular for redemptions. The number of places with a local gift card programme backed by Miconex technology topped 200 for the first time in 2023. 26 new towns, cities and downtown areas launched their own local gift card in 2023, capitalising on the global demand for gift cards and giving places a means to divert online spend back to independent and national bricks and mortar businesses across sectors. Sales in the UK across Miconex’s Town & City Gift Card and Scotland Loves Local Gift Card programmes were up 44 percent, with sales in Ireland over €7 million. The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card reached a milestone of £1 million in sales in 2023 for the first time. Downtown Gift Card sales in Canada topped $3 million in 2023, with US Downtown Gift Card sales topping $1 million. The Aberdeen Gift Card was the best-selling local gift card programme in the UK, with the ShopLK Gift Card taking top place in Ireland, Selkirk Chamber’s programme the top programme in Canada and York Chamber’s programme taking top place in the USA. Miconex 2023 data shows that 90 percent of people spend over the value of the gift card on redemption globally, typically 65 percent. In the UK, 33 percent spend 100 percent – 125 percent more than the value of the gift card on redemption. Globally, 61 percent of people see their gift card as ‘free money’, spending more than the gift card value as a result. 2023 also saw a marked move by organisations towards local gift cards for staff rewards and incentives, plus charities using the cards for service user support. In Scotland, over 50 percent of sales in 2023 were corporate rewards with organisations like Robert Gordon University, Dundee Carers and Shell making the move to local. Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex and said the appetite for local gift cards continues to grow around the world: “Receiving a local gift card is the first step in an exciting journey of discovery for recipients. Taking into account the typical 65 percent and up to 125 percent overspend, the impact of local gift cards in 2023 was significant and this is a trend that will continue. “Globally in 2023, 96 percent of people said they are keen to support local. The mix of independents with national brands, across multiple sectors, makes our local gift cards appealing for both consumers and organisations as the ultimate shop local gift card. In 2024, we’ll be continuing to work alongside our places to drive even more spend into high streets and downtowns.” Local gift cards are driving spend in high streets around the world, says fintech Miconex SHOP LOCAL