Gift card and voucher sector sees strong growth
UK B2B sales up by 20 per cent
Consumer sales up by 24 per cent
The UK voucher and gift card industry saw ‘exceptional growth’ over the second quarter this year, with sales totaling £388.5m.
According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures growth was 22 per cent when compared to the same period in 2009, a performance that outshines the wider retail sector.
The figures are compiled as part of the BRC’s full sales data report on the retail sector, including members of The UK Gift Card & Voucher Association (UKGCVA), which comprise high street retailers, department stores, supermarkets, online retailers, B2B agencies and industry service providers.
Like-for-like percentage growth of voucher sales during Q2 is at least twice that achieved at the height of the market in 2009 and is the strongest ever recorded. Consumer sales are up by 24 per cent to £172m and
sales in the business-to-business sector leapt by 20 per cent year-on-year to £216m.
Sales of retail vouchers/gift cards increased overall by 20 per cent to reach £296m. This growth is marked by a strong performance from department stores and other non-food stores, which grew by 17 per cent and 22 per cent respectively, far outstripping wider market growth of between two and four per cent. It’s also worth noting that business-to-business sales in the retailer category, in decline in the previous period, have made a complete recovery, growing by 15 per cent to £147m.
The Leisure category grew by 11 per cent year-on-year on the back of solid gains made in the last period. The bulk of the growth came from business-to-business, which was up by an outstanding 26 per cent, with sales now worth £10m, a third of the value of the leisure category as a
whole. This is an impressive performance when considered against the wider leisure market, up by just 2.5 per cent in the same period.
Like-for-like sales of vouchers by Agents continue to make striking gains, growing by 37 per cent to £63m, now representing 16 per cent of the total voucher market. Consumer sales via Agents are also growing strongly, albeit from a small base, by over 50 per cent to £3m over the period, but it’s business-to-business sales that take the bulk of the market here.
Sales of vouchers online have remained flat this quarter, with consumer sales sticking at £10m and business-to-business at £2m.
Corporate direct sales are up by a striking 20 per cent, more than double the growth rate achieved between Q1 09 and Q1 10. Notably, internal sales increased by 35 per cent, again surprising on the back of consecutive declines. All evidence points towards healthy corporate spending on vouchers this quarter.
In store is still the place where the majority of consumers buy their vouchers. Sales of vouchers through this channel amount to £151m, an increase of 26 per cent over the period. Gift card centres continue to make outstanding gains, up by 77 per cent and worth £7m in Q2.
Andrew Johnson, director general of The UKGCVA, commented: “These latest sales figures spell fantastic news for the industry with strong performances across the board. As the recession begins to subside, organisations are becoming more confident in re-introducing incentives for their employees and vouchers and gift cards provide the perfect mechanic for this. While in the consumer market, vouchers and gift cards provide an effective gifting solution that covers a vast array of different tastes suitable for all occasions.”