Gauging Consumers' Evolving Preferences for Gift Cards

Jul  21 
Brenda Waggoner  Senior Writer, Fiserv 

New research finds design is an important consideration for purchasers

Gift cards are an easy, fun way to give to friends and family – and an important way for merchants to add value to their business. New research from Fiserv spotlights consumers' evolving preferences for buying, giving and using gift cards.  

The May 2021 Gift Card Gauge from Fiserv found that 69 percent of consumers consider a gift card's design when making a purchase. Forty percent said they have made an impulse gift card purchase simply because they like the design.

"Consumers have come to expect personalization as a standard of service," said Tom Niedbalski, vice president, Gift Solutions, Fiserv. "The desire for personalization and a growing reliance on gift cards for milestone events creates an opportunity to shift perception from last-minute gifts to the gift of choice."

Learn more > Gift Solutions from Fiserv

One in three consumers rely on gift cards as their go-to gift for milestone events. Consumers are most likely to purchase gift cards for birthdays (78 percent), graduations (67 percent), weddings (52 percent), anniversaries (46 percent) and births (38 percent). Sixty-seven percent give three or more gift cards each year to mark those events.

The desire for personalization and a growing reliance on gift cards for milestone events creates an opportunity to shift perception from last-minute gifts to the gift of choice.

– Tom Niedbalski, Vice President, Gift Solutions, Fiserv

Additional findings from the research, conducted in May 2021, include:

  • Consumers rely on customization options to personalize gift cards, including specific designs (63 percent), custom messages (54 percent) and custom photos or images (46 percent)
  • When giving a gift card, 56 percent of consumers add a greeting card
  • Sustainable gift card materials are preferred by 55 percent of consumers
  • Consumers are interested in several innovations, including customized packaging (48 percent), different sizes or shapes (44 percent) and custom textures (36 percent)

The Gift Card Gauge from Fiserv is a bimonthly survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers age 18 and older and is conducted to better understand the use and perceptions of digital wallets and gift cards.