Gift Card Sales To Top $118 Billion As E-Gifting Boosts Growth

CEB TowerGroup Research Highlights Changing Market Landscape; Threats and Opportunities Emerge for Card Issuers

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Gift Card Sales To Top $118 Billion As E-Gifting Boosts Growth
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ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sales of gift cards will surpass $118 billion in sales, an eight percent increase over 2012, according to CEB (NYSE:CEB), the leading member- based advisory company. CEB TowerGroup research suggests that the widespread adoption of e-gifting - which experienced rapid growth this year - will provide scale for continued industry gains through 2016. Developments in the peer-to-peer (P2P) space however, may threaten traditional branded card sales volume, forcing card issuers to adapt their strategies to the changing purchase landscape.  

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The growth in e-gifting sales, from $300 million in 2012 to an expected $3 billion this year, supports a healthy trajectory of growth for the market as a whole.

This year, CEB noted:

  • Open network branded cards grew from $41 billion to $44 billion;
  • Retailer card volume grew from $36 billion to $39 billion;
  • Restaurant and miscellaneous segments held flat at $19 billion and $13 billion, respectively.

The e-gifting trend will help propel continued growth in the gift card market in excess of $140 billion in sales by 2016. E-gifting is expected to top $10 billion during the same period, filling a niche for customers seeking to simultaneously buy and send their gifts to recipients they may not see in person over the holidays. Analysis suggests little overlap between e-gifting and traditional gift card segments though, as the latter rely on the physical presentation of a gift as a primary selling point.

New P2P services from banks and non-traditional financial players such as PayPal, which can be utilized for gifts and may begin to cut into gift card volume, should be of greater concern to traditional card issuers. The new services offer the ability to send gifts in real time through proprietary networks, circumventing the traditional card issuer's spheres.

Innovations related to e-gifting and P2P services are expected to contribute to the decline of unused gift card value, or "spillage." The spillage figure now stands at an estimated one percent of total gift card value spend, down from a high of nearly 10 percent when CEB began studying gift card trends in 2006.

"The gift card experience continues to get better for consumers," said CEB TowerGroup Senior Research Director Brian Riley.  "E-gifting and P2P innovations add a new dimension to the market, which means more flexibility for buyers and recipients. Those same innovations may pose a threat to the growth of traditional card volume, and issuers should remain nimble in adjusting their strategies as digital competitors continue to enter the market," he added.

For more information on 2013 gift card sales, please visit: CEB's Gift Card page.

About CEB

CEB, the leading member-based advisory company, equips more than 10,000 organizations around the globe with insights, tools and actionable solutions to transform enterprise performance. By combining advanced research and analytics with best practices from member companies, CEB helps leaders realize outsized returns by more effectively managing talent, information, customers and risk. Member companies include approximately 85% of the Fortune 500, half the Dow Jones Asian Titans, and nearly 85% of the FTSE 100. More at cebglobal.com.

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