News & Views - Savantor

Gift cards to make their mark?

Monday, 01 December 2008

With Christmas on the horizon and retailers worrying about the impact of the recession it may be that Gift cards will make more of an impact in the UK market this year. Well accepted in the US where the market is worth over $80bn, the UK market is less than 10% of this value but growing. Gift card ‘malls’ are more frequently seen in stores and are proving highly profitable for UK printers, plastics decorators and card manufacturers that pursue gift card business. The capital investments needed to enter the market are relatively modest, especially for businesses that already have some of the printing and finishing equipment used in card manufacture.

Visa is looking to cash in on the festive season with the launch of the UK's first Internet shopping pre-paid gift card. The £25 3V Visa Internet Shopping Gift Card can be bought over the counter at high street retailers including the Co-operative, Martin's Newsagent, Martin McColl's and Borders. Cards are activated online and the recipient is issued with a unique number and three-digit security code, which are entered at the check-out.

Woolworths and MFI may not be the gift card of choice at the moment but other retailers are doing their best to appeal. Best Buy is introducing a holiday gift card that is actually a small pair of speakers for an MP3 player, turning the gift card into a gift itself. Target WOW gift cards double as working digital cameras with 40 free prints, miniature juke boxes that play three songs, or a house that lights up and plays music. Amazon launched digital gift cards for the holiday season that can be personalised with 3D animation, personal photos, text and music. The quality of these ‘add-ons’ may be questionable but the novelty factor will probably win over people who feel guilty about just giving loved ones a piece of plastic.

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