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UK gift card and voucher industry records highest growth ever

The UK’s gift card and voucher market has experienced its highest ever year-on-year increase in sales according to the latest statistics from The UK Gift Card & Voucher Association.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

UK gift card and voucher industry records highest growth ever

The UK’s gift card and voucher market has experienced its highest ever year-on-year increase in sales according to the latest statistics from The UK Gift Card & Voucher Association.

The report, compiled independently by Ernst & Young, reveals a growth of 15.6% in gift card and voucher sales in Q1 of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010.

Business-to-business (B2B) sales accounted for a large percentage of the growth, up by 22.8% over the period, compared with 2.7% last year. Online sales for the B2B sector increased by 163%. Continuing to form an important part of the corporate sector, paper vouchers experienced sales growth of 14% compared to Q1 2010.

Despite the decline in household consumption and negative retail sales growth, consumer sales of gift cards and vouchers have seen a 5.8% increase, whilst in store consumer purchases are up 7.1%

The report assessed data submitted by UKGCVA members which include leading high street retailers, department stores, supermarkets, online retailers, B2B agencies and industry service providers.

Across both the corporate and consumer sectors, the sales of gift cards and vouchers by retailers performed well, up by 15% and 6% respectively. The leisure and retailer sectors are bolstered by corporate sales, up by 12% overall and beating wider leisure market performance of 6%. The increase came exclusively from B2B sales, delivering 32% growth over the period.

Open loop and restricted loop gift cards both maintained sharp gains, up by 90% and 89% respectively. Notably, the boost in restricted loop cards was boosted by consumer sales, up by 165% over the period. Closed loop cards saw steady growth this quarter with a 5% increase, confirming their position as the most popular gift card.

Andrew Johnson, Director General of The UKGCVA, commented: “These latest sales figures are extremely positive for the industry with strong performances across the board. The significant increase from the B2B sector reflects the dynamic approach businesses are taking to incentivise and motivate staff. In the consumer market, vouchers and gift cards provide the ideal gifting solution and despite negative general retail sales, it’s encouraging to see this increase in gift card and voucher sales across the consumer sector which we hope will continue into Q2.”

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