8 Ways COVID19 Has Affected the UK Gift Card Industry07 Sep 2020
Coronavirus has affected so many aspects of our lives, but what about the gift card industry?
Coronavirus has dictated headlines across the world for months now, and the impact it has had on businesses in a range of sectors has been overwhelming.
On August 12th 2020 an engaging webinar took place, hosted by the GCVA, the UK’s leading industry trade body and membership association. The collective experiences of the UK and USA over the last six months were discussed in relation to COVID19, and it’s effects on the industry as a whole.
Below are the main points for the UK, summarized:
- The government’s School Meals Initiative was introduced on 31st March, allowing children who are eligible for free school meals to benefit from a national voucher scheme, thus allowing them to continue having access to meals whilst they stayed at home. Through this, digital codes (along with the traditional physical vouchers) have been successfully welcomed and understood.
- The governments ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme has worked well by encouraging spending. By offering discounts on food and non-alcoholic drinks every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, restaurants have been able to stay afloat during the pandemic.
- In the UK, the gaming and entertainment industries are both huge winners in gift card spending, along with service providers such as Deliveroo seizing the opportunity to promote the digital market and support hospitality.
- Gift cards have acted as a lifeline and are building strong bonds between customers and brands during these difficult times.
- The furloughing of so many gift card businesses’ staff is likely to have a negative impact on companies who rely on gift cards as a key way of generating income.
Furthermore, from the GCVA August report, July saw:
- A further increase in gift card buying overall, despite further regional lockdowns occurring during the month.
- A rise in ‘experience’ gift cards, stimulated by generation Z (16-24 year olds). With international travel likely to remain restricted through the remainder of 2020, experience gift cards are set to remain a popular purchase option, with people hoping to maximize their experience here in the UK.
- A rise in purchasing of multi-store retail gift cards, suggesting a return of social shopping to places such as city centre high streets and malls.
From these last six months, we can see just how resilient and adaptable the gift card market is to sudden change. The COVID19 pandemic has affected numerous areas of the industry, and in the coming years we will undoubtedly find even more innovative forms of gifting. With the rise of the e-commerce sector alongside a general increase in demand, we can conclude that, whatever form they appear, gift cards are here to stay!
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