First Data Releases 2010 First-Half Gift Card Performance Report
For all those gift card geeks out there (and I mean that in only the most positive sense possible)…
Be sure to check out First Data’s 2010 First-Half Gift Card Performance Report. Here are a few interesting snippets:
Following a positive 2009 holiday performance, U.S. merchant branded gift card sales continued to gain traction in the first half of 2010. Merchants enjoyed year-over-year monthly sales growth from February through June. Sales increases peaked with a 12.8 percent jump in April and then subsided somewhat in the following months.
Much of the growth was driven by gift card malls (i.e., the large gift card displays featuring cards from a variety of merchants that are common in grocery stores, discount stores, etc). Through June, gift card sales from gift card malls increased by about 20 percent. Consumers continue to choose the convenience that gift card malls offer, and First Data expects this trend to continue.
The dollar value of all gift cards sold in the first half of the year, including at retailers, increased 4.6 percent, while the number of gift cards sold rose 2.7 percent, First Data found. The average gift card amount at all merchants increased 1.9 percent to $33.73.
First Data forecasts that merchant branded gift card sales will increase by 1 to 5 percent for 2010 with potential for upside. Since the holiday season (Nov.-Dec.) accounts for nearly 40 percent of gift card activations, the majority of gift card sales will take place in the second half of the year.
Mobile applications that enable virtual cards (i.e., electronic gift cards not linked to a piece of plastic) and on-the-go account management represent the next frontier for merchant branded gift cards.
At Plastic Jungle, we’ve seen even more enthusiasm for gift cards in the market. As of mid-July, we had done twice as much business as what we did in all of 2009.
All of this bodes quite well for the upcoming holiday season – typically the most active time of year for gift card giving and receiving – not to mention the post-holiday gift card redemption (and exchange) extravaganza. ‘Tis soon the season…