Like-for-like gift voucher sales made solid gains of 7.9% in the third quarter of this year, and growth will remain firm during the run-up to Christmas.
So says The UK Gift Card & Voucher Association, the trade body representing the key players in the £4bn gift voucher and cards market.
The growth during the period was mainly driven by increases in the business-to-business market, up 11%, and while consumer sales growth slowed it still came in at a respectable 3.8%.
UKGCVA director-general Andrew Johnson commented: “Despite the faltering economy putting pressure on spending, the voucher market continues to hold its own. Although the consumer market is up by a more modest 3.8%, this rate of growth is still outpacing an overall retail sales growth of just 0.1% over the same period, as reported by the British Retail Consortium.
“As such, based on the recent performance of the voucher market as a whole, we cautiously expect the market to continue to grow steadily, especially as we head into the all-important gifting season.”
Corporate direct sales remain the largest sales channel for vouchers, with a reported 13.6% increase in Q3. The association says that such healthy sales highlight the growing trend for businesses to invest in voucher schemes as part of their incentive programmes.
So-called closed loop gift cards – those issued by an individual store and which can be redeemed only by the issuing provider – are the most popular form of gift card. However, open loop – which can be redeemed by a range of different outlets – are the most dynamic, growing by 62% in Q3.