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E-gifting On The Rise This Holiday Season

As the holiday shopping season looms closer, a new study finds that the majority of shoppers will look to give gift cards, and that most consumers want to receive them, owing to the flexibility of those cards that give them the option to buy what they’d like.

According to research from the Retail Gift Card Association, which found a creeping awareness of and intention to use digital gifting options, shoppers have targeted the cards to everyone on their lists, and both buying and card redemption are likely to occur across a variety of channels, ranging from the physical to the digital.

The study reached across more than 1,000 consumers based in the United States in October of 2015, and delved into the willingness to bestow gifts across new options such as mobile and e-gift cards. In reference to how people wanted to hold their cards, the RGCA explored the use of traditional or mobile wallets to hold those cards.

Among the findings: Awareness of technology as an option, such as mobile wallets, is on the rise.  Last year, said the Association, only 4 percent of consumers knew how to redeem an e-gift card, and that tally now stands at 50 percent. Roughly a third of consumers are “very comfortable” using e-gift cards, with only 29 percent saying they’ve never used one. Also, more consumers are open to using mobile wallets, actually a majority, at 54 percent, and that is up 27 percent from last year.

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And the thirst for gift cards remains evergreen, with 89 percent of respondents stating that they do not need a sale or promotion to buy a gift card, up 13 percent year on year. There’s a bit of self-dealing here, too, as 73 percent of shoppers who buy gift cards also buy something for themselves, additionally, and that’s to the tune of $20 more incrementally. Most consumers plan to give more than one card through the holidays, at three fourths of respondents.

Omnichannel remains a key force in purchasing behavior, with 63 percent stating that they like to have the option of giving physical or e-gift cards.  For physical gift cards, the most common denominations lie between $25 and $50 depending on whether the card is preloaded or comes with variable load options.

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