Consumers Look to Gift Cards Amidst the Crisis

Blackhawk Network research shows consumers are using gift cards for charitable activities and sales data shows spike in egifts, ecommerce sales of gift cards

PLEASANTON, California — Blackhawk Network announced new consumer research1 and card sales data today that reveals how consumers are using gift cards amidst the COVID-19 crisis and how they plan to over the coming months.

“Gift cards and egifts are being leveraged by consumers for charity and kindess, and consumers report they are more appealing as gifts for the upcoming season including Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations and weddings,” said Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk Network, a global branded payments provider. “As the world grapples with the COVID-19 crisis, consumers are adapting the ways they shop and give. We are examining these consumer trends and comparing them to our own card sales to provide ongoing insights into how the crisis will impact payments and retail.”

Based on Blackhawk Network’s sales data2, egift sales are up 44% year-over-year and ecommerce sales are up 43% year-over-year. Also, gift card ecommerce sales are up 54% year-over-year on Blackhawk’s partners’ channels.

Last week, Blackhawk conducted an independent study of more than 1,000 consumers to uncover current buying behaviors for gift cards and egifts. Findings include:

  • Respondents are interested in using gift cards and egifts for charity or kindness during this crisis, such as contributing to a gift card for a person or family in need (31%), sending gift cards to healthcare workers (31%) or purchasing a gift card from a business they care about that is closed or struggling during the crisis (26%).
  • Since the COVID-19 crisis began, 38% of respondents have already used gift cards or egifts for some kind of charitable action, like those mentioned above.
  • 70% of respondents reported that they will be looking for creative ways to give gifts for upcoming holidays (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations and weddings) this year given that many physical stores may be closed. And 71% of respondents said they are more interested in giving egifts instead of other gifts right now than they would have been in the past.
  • Respondents said that gift cards make good gift options during the crisis for several reasons, including: egifts can be completely bought, given and spent online (63%) and gift cards can be purchased easily in a supermarket when picking up groceries (45%).

Blackhawk works with more than 1,000 brands and card partners, is in more than 200,000 retail locations in 28 countries and connects with more than 300,000,000 shoppers worldwide each week.

About Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk Network delivers branded payment solutions through the prepaid products, technologies and network that connect brands and people. We collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends in branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. Serving 28 countries, we reliably execute security-minded solutions worldwide. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments.

1 The “Paying for Things and Giving Gifts During a Crisis” report is based on the findings of an internet-based survey conducted by SurveyMonkey on behalf of Blackhawk Network on March 31, 2020. The sample size included 1,067 respondents ages 18+.

2 Gift card growth findings are based on 2019 and 2020 sales data from Blackhawk Network.