People around the world plan to spend more on holiday gifts this year, and more of that spending is targeted at gift cards according to the 2021 Global Holiday Shopping Forecast released by global branded payments provider Blackhawk Network. The report found that almost 45% of holiday spending this year among respondents across ten countries around the world will go to gift cards—a 27% increase over last year. Because of the ease of giving a gift card and the growing concern over slower delivery times and global inventory issues, even more people have embraced gift cards and are eager to give and receive them.
“This year more than ever, consumers’ holiday shopping plans will differ from country to country. As pandemic hotspots shift around the world, some people will have relatively familiar holiday shopping experiences while others will continue to keep their distance,” said Theresa McEndree, global head of marketing & corporate brand, Blackhawk Network. “This holiday season is going to be uniquely unpredictable for retailers and consumers alike. However, according to our research, one trend that looks to remain consistent across the globe is using gift cards as a universal gifting language. Merchants and shoppers need to be prepared to react and adapt to this year’s challenges and gift cards offer the unique flexibility to do just that.”
Blackhawk Network’s Holiday Forecast examined global attitudes and behaviors around holiday gifting, eCommerce trends and shopper outlook across ten target countries. The following trends have been identified and look to fuel growth for the 2021 holiday shopping season:
Holiday shoppers’ love for gift cards is universal
Last holiday, as consumers looked for convenient, contactless ways to spread holiday cheer, gift cards recorded a banner year as one of the season’s most popular gifts. This year, 80% of shoppers across surveyed countries want to give gift cards instead of physical gifts and 85% of respondents see gift cards as a safe bet for gifting. Overall, surveyed shoppers plan to buy 17 gift cards on average this year.
• Dining and personal care & beauty gift cards will top shopping lists this year. The most popular gift card categories across the ten countries surveyed this holiday will be dining, personal care & beauty and clothing & accessories. Surveyed shoppers expect to shop for their gift cards at online-only retailers, mass merchandiser/big box stores, online retailers, grocery stores and convenience stores.
• Respondents in India and Mexico plan to spend the largest percentage of their holiday gifting budget on gift cards. The countries where surveyed shoppers plan to spend the largest percentage of their holiday gifting budget on gift cards include India (89%), Mexico (55%), Brazil (53%), Australia (50%) and the Netherlands (45%).
• Mexican respondents report the largest increase in year over year holiday gift card spending. The countries with the largest increases in holiday gift card spending over 2020 are: Mexico (+51%), Brazil (+44%), India (+42%), Australia (+30%) and the U.K. (+29%).
Top holiday gift card trends by country:
U.S.: American shoppers surveyed plan to spend and gift more this holiday season, but with continued concerns over COVID-related impacts on gifting, they will also shop early, continue to shift holiday shopping online and once again look to gift cards. American respondents anticipate spending 41% of their holiday gifting budget on gift cards and purchasing 15 gift cards on average.
Canada: Canadian shoppers surveyed plan to spend 37% of their holiday gifting budget on gift cards. They are also among the countries most interested in purchasing multi-store gift cards, with 7 in 10 shopper respondents reporting that they are interested in giving gift cards that can be redeemed at a collection of retail brands.
Mexico: Of surveyed countries, Mexico plans to purchase the fewest gift cards (9). Yet, shoppers surveyed anticipate spending 55% of their holiday gifting budget on gift cards—a 51% increase in gift card spending over last year. Mexico is also among the countries most interested in giving gift cards that give back to charitable causes.
Brazil: Brazilian shoppers surveyed anticipate buying 23 gift cards this holiday season, more than any other country surveyed.Shopper respondents anticipate spending 53% of their holiday budget on gift cards with fashion and electronics & toys gift cards being the most popular gift card categories.
U.K.: British shoppers surveyed are significantly more likely to shop for holiday gift cards online with multi-store and fashion gift cards being the most popular categories. Additionally, respondents plan to spend 36% of their holiday gifting budget on gift cards—a 29% increase over last year.
France: French shoppers surveyed plan to spend 41% of their holiday budget on gift cards and will look to mass merchandisers and big box stores as their top destination to purchase gift cards. Health & beauty and fashion gift cards are among the most popular for holiday in France.
Germany: With 45% of German consumers surveyed reporting that they receive at least one bad gift every holiday season, one of the top reasons German shoppers give gift cards is so the recipient doesn’t have to make a return for a gift they don’t want or need. Respondents anticipate buying 16 gift cards this holiday season and spending 42% of their holiday budget on gift cards.
Netherlands: Dutch respondents plan to increase gift card spending by 15% this year, with 45% of their holiday budget allocated for gift cards. Additionally, health & beauty and dining gift cards look to be two of the most popular gift card categories this holiday season.
Australia: Australian respondents plan to spend 50% of their holiday budget on gift cards and are more likely to want to give a gift card instead of a physical gift. Eighty-one percent of Australian shoppers surveyed would prefer to give a gift card and multi-store and fashion gift cards are among the most popular gift card categories for holiday gifting this year.
India: India loves giving gift cards. Nearly all surveyed consumers (96%) want to give gift cards instead of other physical gifts and plan to spend a whopping 89% of their holiday gifting budget on gift cards. Indian shoppers anticipate purchasing 22 gift cards this year with fashion and health & beauty being the most popular gift card categories for holiday gifting.
Blackhawk Network works with approximately 37,000 corporate and government partners, and has approximately 400,000 channel touchpoints around the world. Blackhawk connects with more than 300 million shoppers worldwide daily. For more in-depth analysis by country, download the full report, “5 Global Lessons for Holiday 2021” here.