Gift cards are widening their appeal across the province and the generations, says payments provider Miconex as it reveals the 10 areas of the UK with the highest gift card sales in 2021, including two places in Northern Ireland.
Belfast, Enniskillen, Aberdeen, East Ayrshire, Cambridge, Barnsley, Perth, East Lothian, York and Kirkwall recorded sales of over £1.2 million for their local gift cards in 2021, a 32% increase from 2020.
Miconex increased the reach of its award winning Town & City Gift Card programme to 70 UK and Irish places in 2021.
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Analysis of 2021 data shows universal appeal for its local gift cards across the age brackets for both the initial sale of gift cards, and the value of that initial gift card sale.
25-34 year olds lead on gift card transactions but 35-44 year olds lead on gift card value in the UK.
In the UK, 25-34 year olds were responsible for 25.44% of gift card transactions, followed by 35-44 year olds (21.15%), 18-24 (15.79%), 45-54 (14.77%), 55-64 (13.74%) and 65+ (9.11%).
Higher purchasing value for the 35-44 age group placed this segment into top place for local gift card transaction value in the UK (28.96%), followed by 25-34 (19.94%, 55-64 (16.25%), 45-54 (15.87%), 18-24 (9.93%) and 65+ (9.05%).
Women led the way in initial gift card sales and transaction value in the UK at 57%.
Enniskillen achieved over £161,000 in sales in 2021, up 10% from 2020.
Noelle McAloon is Enniskillen’s BID manager, said: “Right from the start, people in Enniskillen were thrilled at the idea of being able to buy a gift card for their town.
“They’re proud of where they live and there’s a sense of ‘that’s my hometown or home country’. Buying a gift card allows them to put a little bit of Enniskillen in someone’s pocket.
“The population in Enniskillen is 11,000 and when you set that against over £160,000 in sales in 2021, you really get a sense of the power of shop local.
“The very best endorsement is when we get people saying they were given a gift card last year, and are buying it this year for someone else.
“It shows they’ve had a positive experience and see the Enniskillen Gift Card as a valuable gift for all kinds of occasions through the year.”
Colin Munro, the managing director of Miconex, continued: “It’s really encouraging that support for local businesses is coming from all across the UK, and from all ages.
“Our places have created a local gift card that people want to buy and receive as a gift. Customers can pick up the gift card and instantly see many, many businesses where they could spend their card.
“It makes the idea of loving local easy for customers to achieve, and to share with others.
“As well as the number of businesses, the unique mix of hospitality, retail, attractions and services on each card is integral to the success of local gift cards in Northern Ireland, and is a huge contributing factor to their universal appeal.
“Whether someone is 18 or 80, there is an activity they’d enjoy, a restaurant they can visit, or a shop they can buy from, all through their gift card.
“It’s particularly encouraging to see the adoption of local gift cards by younger people, in both the 25-34 and 18-24 age groups.
“These age groups may spend slightly less when they buy the gift card initially, but they back the concept of shop local which is vital for the recovery of our businesses, and the future of our high streets.
“As we roll out our new digital gift cards, we are continuing on our journey to make shop local easy, convenient and appealing to the whole community.”
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