53% of employees would like to receive a gift card from work this Christmas, 73% would prefer a multi-store gift card, and 90% are keen to support local
Scottish fintech Miconex has revealed new research showing that 53% of employees would prefer to receive a gift card from their workplace for Christmas 2022, higher than cash and social events.
Miconex, founders of the Town & City Gift Card and Downtown Gift Card programmes active in over 150 places in the UK, Ireland, Canada and the USA, undertook the research with 1500 organisations, employees and consumers in August 2022.
The Perth based operator first introduced its Town & City Gift Card concept in 2015. The local gift cards can be spent with a variety of shops, restaurants, attractions and services in a particular town, city or region, locking in spend locally.
In the research, 80% of organisations and 90% of employees suggested that support for local was important to them for Christmas 2022.
Other findings from the research include an employee preference for gift cards that can be spent with more than one business, with 73% of employees saying they would prefer to receive a multi-store gift card from work instead of a single retailer gift card.
Colin Munro, is the managing director of Miconex and said the research highlights a number of key trends within the gift card industry:
“We know from the Gift Card and Voucher Association that shop local is as powerful as ever. 30% of those purchasing gift cards for someone else in August 2022 did so to support local. This was reflected strongly in our employee research with the majority of organisations and employees showing an interest in supporting local this Christmas.
“Multi-store gift cards are rising in popularity, to 38% of monthly gift card purchases in 2021, according to the GCVA. We saw this in our research too, with the majority of employees wanting to receive a multi-store gift card from their workplace because of the choice that they offer.
“GCVA data also shows that 46% of people say they are either slightly or significantly worse off this year. In our research, 72% of employees said they would use their gift card from work on something practical. When we looked into this more closely, participants talked about using their gift card to ‘trade up’, so perhaps spending more on an item or experience than they would normally. This means employees could get something practical that they need, but still feel like they’re getting a treat.
“The preference for gift cards over cash as part of the salary is interesting. A big reason for this is that cash as part of the salary tends to get consumed within day to day expenses without the employee having much recollection on how it was spent. Participants talked about gift card spending being more conscious and memorable.
“This ties in with academic research on mental accounting and motivation, showing that people will consider and treat rewards/incentives given as cash vs. gift card, differently even though the funds are economically identical. Studies also suggest that gift cards can have a higher motivational power for employees.
“Our research also showed that 79% of people who receive a gift card through work plan a specific visit into their town or city to spend it. 47% spend their gift card within 3 months.
“Town & City Gift Cards wrap up employee requirements for choice and their desire to support local businesses into their preferred Christmas reward, a gift card. It is a way that organisations can show their support for local businesses, and enable employees to do the same, with tangible benefits for their local community.”
Over 10,000 businesses are part of Miconex’s economy boosting local gift card programmes, with over £25 million spent in local businesses to date. Miconex were awarded the Small to Medium Business of the Year at the 2022 GCVA Hall of Fame awards in September, and the Social Impact award at the Scottish Financial Technology Awards in October.
Commenting on the findings, Gail Cohen, director general of the Gift Card and Voucher Association said:
“The GCVA recently carried out research on how the cost of living crisis is impacting consumers’ gifting habits in the run up to Christmas. Findings reflect those seen in Miconex’s research, namely that gift cards are playing a vital role in people’s gifting intentions this year.
“For both employers gifting employees and consumers buying for family and friends, gift cards are a way to make the present buying process more affordable, avoid waste and allow people to treat themselves in challenging times, opposed to a cash offering that will likely be eaten up by bills and household expenses. In addition, it’s clear that people are keen to support local over the festive period, which is a further benefit for small businesses that are likely feeling the impact of current circumstances.”