The present is digital with Town and City Gift Cards thanks to the launch of our new digital gift card and Love Local app, alongside our partners EML, Mastercard and Apple. The digital gift card works through the Mastercard network and digital wallet services such as Apple Pay.
Using the Love Local app, recipients can add the digital gift card balance to their Apple Wallet, or other digital wallet, view participating businesses, see their balance and spend either online or in-store.
Town and City Gift Cards’ new digital gift card offers a first of its kind digital gifting product for towns and cities, enabling them to adapt to the growing trends for digital gift cards, mobile payments and local shopping. 38.4% of people converted to digital gift cards during the pandemic. In store redemption dropped from 69.6% in 2019 to 54.8% in 2020 with mobile phone redemption up from 11.4% in 2019 to 21.6% in 2020.
It is estimated that almost 12 million people in the UK will use their phones as their primary payment method by 2023. In 2019, 81% of Brits were using some form of online payment, the highest percentage in the world. By 2022, mobile payments are projected to overtake both cash and credit card as the preferred payment method, second only to debit card.
And it seems, the younger you are, the more likely you are to use digital wallets. 48% of 18-34 year olds have a digital wallet, falling to 44% of 35-44s, 37% of 45-54s, 29% of 55-64s and 22% of 65 plus users. The trend for shopping locally just keeps on building too. 33.5% of people buying a gift card for someone else in August 2020 did so to support local businesses, up to 42.3% for younger Generation X customers.
Perth, Glasgow and Edinburgh are amongst the first places in the UK to offer the digital gift card for customers, with more towns and cities in the UK and Ireland to launch their digital gift card in the coming weeks.
Benefits of digital gift cards noted by consumers include the perception that it is easier to shop online with a digital gift card, plus sustainability and environmental benefits. There is also a trend towards omnichannel redemption with 62.6% of customers expecting flexibility in where gift cards can be used.
Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex, who created the first Town and City Gift Cards programme in Perth, and said digital gift cards offer greater convenience for customers: “An estimated 1 in 3 adults are said to choose gifts based on how soon they can get them. For customers, digital gift cards are instant, meaning they can send a last minute gift conveniently, whilst also supporting local businesses. The digital gift goes straight to the recipient. They receive a text or email, click on the link to download the Love Local app, then receive a code to add the balance to their digital wallet, making their purchase using their phone, or even their Apple watch. Ease of use for customers is paramount, as is the trend towards mobile payments which is particularly pronounced in the UK.
“With a digital gift card in their armoury, towns and cities can appeal to a wide range of consumers and give them ultimate choice and flexibility in how they spend their gift cards. This is the gift card of the future.”