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The reason for this increase is believed to be an increasing cautiousness amongst festive spenders.  The Prepaid International Forum (PIF), the trade association that represents the prepaid card industry), has revealed that the majority of companies supplying gift cards are reporting double digit growth from last Christmas, when over 100 million gift cards were given as presents.

Consumer research reveals that thrifty Christmas spending is helping to drive this growth, with 15% of the UK shoppers saying that they are more likely to increase their use of gift cards this year in order to ensure less waste this Christmas.

Data from Deloitte  also indicates that 2014 will be a thrifty Christmas with UK consumers planning to reduce their overall expenditure compared to previous years and are less likely to be eating into savings or running up debts with their Christmas spending.

Alistair Graham, Co-Chair Of PIF, comments, “People are more conscious of waste this year and want to give a present that will be genuinely useful.

“Sales for Christmas so far indicate that the big sellers will be branded store gift cards, representing over 70% of the total gift cards sold to consumers in the UK.  These are most often bought from brands people trust or as a gift for a person who knows exactly what it is they want to buy. 

 

“However, the fastest growing type of gift cards are those that can be used in multiple outlets, across high street retailers as well as through major online retailers such as Amazon. 

“In the last three months, sales of such cards have increased by 48%.  Such cards are often preferred because they give the recipient an almost unlimited choice of the type of present they can buy for themselves, from fashion, toys and electrical items through to DIY for home improvements and travel.”

PIF also point to greater availability and choice helping to make gift cards a more attractive option, available from most large retail chains, from Supermarket outlets and 11,500 Post Offices as well as online.  Personalised printing also means that online orders can provide cards featuring photographs or personalised messages, making them a more appealing gift than ever before.

Businesses are also contributing to the boom in gift card sales at Christmas, with many using them as festive rewards or bonuses for staff.  52% of sales for gift cards come from businesses, ranging from large corporates employing thousands of staff to small businesses with just a handful.

 

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