Blackhawk Network Research Reveals New Findings About eGifts

PLEASANTON, Calif. – September 13, 2016Blackhawk Network, Inc., a pioneer of prepaid gift cards, payment tools and rewards delivered via a robust and convenient network, today announced findings from a new research study about consumers’ usage, adoption of and sentiments toward egifts. The findings revealed that as the consumers surveyed rely on mobile devices or computers to store their personal data, the use of egifts—digital gift cards delivered to recipients via email, social media or text message and that are redeemable in-store, online or via mobile devices—is growing.

“The consumers we surveyed continue to have a strong desire to give and receive plastic gift cards, and even as this demand remains high, egifts are becoming equally desired,” said Teri Llach, chief marketing officer at Blackhawk Network. “There are, however, some misconceptions that still exist about consumers’ attitudes toward and perception of egifts and how they are being used and redeemed. Our new research finds that shoppers view and use digital gift cards in ways one might not expect.”

The perception of egift is evolving beyond the initial view that egift is strictly for personal use and not appropriate to gift to others. The Blackhawk Network research* of more than 1,000 Americans surveyed in June 2016 revealed:

  • According to Blackhawk’s research, egifts continue to gain in popularity as the shoppers surveyed use them for both self-use and gifting. While plastic gift cards remain a top gift-giving choice, with 89 percent of consumers surveyed reporting they have purchased at least one plastic gift card in the last year, 71 percent of those individuals have also purchased one or more egifts during the same timeframe. Nearly half of consumers surveyed (42 percent) have purchased egifts for both gifts and self-use. According to the survey:
    • For self-use: The majority (78 percent) of respondents reported they would purchase an egift for self-use if it were offered at a discount, a finding of particular interest for retailers wishing to grow egift adoption.
    • For gift-giving: Thirty percent of consumers surveyed have purchased an egift specifically with the recipient in mind because they knew the recipient would like it, however speed and ease of delivery were the most important factors influencing their purchase. In fact, the majority of respondents (91 percent) agreed that egifts are “quick and easy” to buy. The top features that make the consumers surveyed more likely to gift egifts according to the research, include:
      • Delivery in minutes (45 percent)
      • Delivery notification (39 percent)
      • Ability to include a digital greeting card (28 percent)
  • Givers and receivers have conflicting perceptions of egifts, according to the survey. Respondents said that a common reason they do not purchase an egift to give as a gift is because they feel it can be perceived as impersonal. However, respondents who have received egifts feel quite the contrary. Of the consumers surveyed who have received at least one egift in the past 12 months, 93 percent said they were satisfied to receive an egift and 85 percent felt that it was a personal gesture and selected just for him/her.
  • The top reasons why they felt it was personal, according to the survey, include:
    • The egift was for a brand, store or other merchant that they like (62 percent)
    • The egift allowed them to choose their own gift (55 percent)
    • It arrived on-time (33 percent)
    • It had a personal message (29 percent)
  • Ninety percent of respondents who have received egifts also thought they were easy to redeem because:
    • It was easy to use online (71 percent)
    • It was “just like other gift cards” (51 percent)
    • The recipient didn’t have to worry about losing it (48 percent)
    • The recipient can use them without having a plastic card (48 percent)
    • The recipient can use in-store (38 percent)
  • Awareness of gift card exchanges—where shoppers can buy or sell pre-owned gift cards—is growing. According to the survey, 89 percent of the consumers surveyed stated they were aware of gift card exchange sites, though adoption and usage is still growing. Only 13 percent of respondents say they have purchased a gift card from an exchange site, yet 78 percent say they would feel moderately to extremely safe about purchasing a gift card on a gift card exchange site and 48 percent say they would consider using an exchange service to buy or sell gift cards.
  • In addition to self-use, survey respondents also view gift cards purchased from gift card exchanges as a gift-giving option:
    • Over half of respondents surveyed (62 percent) would be satisfied with receiving a gift card from an exchange site as a gift.
    • And, 64 percent feel it is acceptable to give a gift card purchased through a gift card exchange because the egifts look the same as other gift cards (84 percent) and because they were purchased at a discount (78 percent) making the gift-giver look like a good bargain shopper.

Blackhawk Network built its business on pioneering new branded payments products and solutions such as merchant-specific cards, prepaid debit cards and egifts. This success is rooted in Blackhawk’s expertise in shopper marketing and dedication to research on shopper behaviors and emerging trends.

*About Blackhawk’s eGift Misconceptions Survey
Blackhawk’s eGift Misconceptions Survey is an Internet-based survey conducted by Blackhawk Network in June 2016. The sample size included 1,144 American respondents.

About Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAWK) is a leading prepaid and payments global company, which supports the program management and distribution of gift cards, prepaid telecom products and financial service products in retail, digital and incentive channels. Blackhawk’s digital platform supports prepaid across a network of digital distribution partners including retailers, financial service providers, and mobile wallets. For more information, please visit or product websites Cardpool, Gift Card Lab, Gift Card Mall, and OmniCard. .

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are indicated by words or phrases such as “guidance,” “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “plans,” “continuing,” “ongoing,” and similar words or phrases and the negative of such words and phrases. Forward-looking statements are based on our current plans and expectations and involve risks and uncertainties which are, in many instances, beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in or contemplated or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among other things, risk arising from consumers’ continued demand of egifts and consumer spending patterns.

Other risks and uncertainties relating to the Company’s business are: our ability to grow adjusted operating revenues and adjusted net income as anticipated, our ability to grow at historic rates or at all, the consequences should we lose one or more of our top distribution partners or fail to attract new distribution partners to our network or if the financial performance of our distribution partners’ businesses decline, our reliance on our content providers, the demand for their products and our exclusivity arrangements with them, our reliance on relationships with card issuing banks, the consequences to our future growth if our distribution partners fail to actively and effectively promote our products and services, the ability of our distribution partners to implement EMV compliance within their expected timeline and lift the measures they may have taken prior to such compliance to limit or control their exposure to liability for fraud losses; changes in consumer behavior away from our distribution partners and our products resulting from limits or controls implemented by our distribution partners during our distribution partners’ transition to EMV compliance; the requirement that we comply with applicable laws and regulations, including increasingly stringent money-laundering rules and regulations, and other risks and uncertainties described in our reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including the risks and uncertainties set forth in Item 1A under the heading Risk Factors in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended January 2, 2016 and other subsequent periodic reports we file with the SEC. We undertake no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect developments or information obtained after the date hereof and disclaim any obligation to do so other than as may be required by law.

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