ATLANTA, March 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- InComm, a leading prepaid product and transaction services company, today released 2014 holiday data demonstrating that digital gift cards are an increasingly important component of successful holiday strategies. The newly released data also shows that retailers can extend the holiday shopping season by offering instantly delivered digital gift cards, which have risen in popularity across all age demographics. Also significant is a growing preference for mobile delivery, storage and redemption of digital gift cards.
Digital Gift Cards Gaining Popularity Aggregated purchasing data for e-commerce sales of physical and digital gift cards through the InComm Digital Solutions (IDS) platform indicates a strong rise in digital gift card sales in 2014 compared to 2013. While physical gift cards remain an important part of holiday strategies, 2014 saw a greater portion of digital gift cards sold during the holiday season.
67% of total sales in December 2014 were digital gift cards (compared to 57% in 2013)
33% of total sales in December 2014 were physical gift cards (compared to 43% in 2013)
This rise mirrors the results of a consumer attitudinal survey conducted prior to the 2014 holiday season, which indicated an increasing preference for digital gift cards and a continued demand for choice. Of these consumers, 80% of total respondents (and 89% of millennials aged 18-35) agreed that they're more interested in purchasing digital gift cards now than they were 2-3 years ago. These consumers also expressed an interest in choice, with 77% wanting the option to purchase digital or physical gift cards and 34% stating that the decision to purchase a digital or physical gift card depended on the recipient.
Offer Both Physical and Digital Gift Cards This purchasing data from the InComm Digital Solutions platform shows that retailers should not choose between offering digital and physical gift cards, but should instead offer consumers the option to purchase both types of cards. For the third year in a row, 2014 saw strong sales of physical gift cards in the beginning of December. As holiday shipping deadlines approached, purchases of digital gift cards in an ecommerce environment continued to rise while the sale of physical gift cards tapered off.
88% of total sales were digital gift cards (compared to 80% in 2013) in the six days leading up to Christmas (Dec. 19-24)
12% of total sales were physical gift cards (compared to 20% in 2013) in the six days leading up to Christmas (Dec. 19-24)
December 24 was the highest sales day for digital gift cards
This holiday data reflects consumer attitudes regarding digital gift cards, where 61% of survey respondents cited instant delivery and 33% cited ease of sending to recipient as major factors in choosing to give digital gift cards.
"Retailers should take note of this data which reflects the importance of digital gift cards as a complement to physical cards in continuing to driving sales after holiday shipping deadlines have passed," said Mike Fletcher, General Manager, InComm Digital Solutions.
Mobile Delivery, Storage and Redemption Smart phones continue to contribute to the increasing demand for consumers to purchase, store and redeem digital gift cards all from their mobile devices. Consumer survey responses indicated that:
72% have purchased a gift card online or through mobile means
50% of respondents agree that they would prefer to have a digital gift card scanned from their mobile device than to carry an email printout
53% of respondents are interested in storing and using gift cards on their phones
"Ultimately, data from the 2014 holiday season demonstrates significant overall digital growth across age demographics, especially in the final days leading up to major holidays," said Fletcher. "When it comes to digital gift cards, a winning strategy must incorporate choice: consumers want to be able to choose between a digital and physical gift card and mobile or email delivery. Retailers need to deliver complementary offerings."
About InComm Leveraging deep integrations into retailers' point-of-sale systems, InComm provides connectivity to a variety of service providers that allow consumers to conduct everyday business at more than 450,000 points of retail distribution worldwide. Whether those consumers are activating prepaid products, paying bills, enjoying real-time discounts through a membership card, purchasing digital goods in-store or adding funds to an online account, InComm is there to provide unique gift-gifting opportunities, cater to on-the-go shoppers, deliver added value through loyalty programs and serve cash-based consumers. With 186 global patents, InComm is headquartered in Atlanta with a presence in over 30 countries in North and South America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Learn more at www.incomm.com or connect with us on www.twitter.com/incomm, www.facebook.com/incomm, www.linkedin.com/company/incomm or www.incomm.com/blog.