93% of Indians Surveyed Strongly Believe That Digital Gift Cards Are Appropriate Holiday Gifts: Blackhawk Network’s Holiday Gifting Report

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India, Bangalore, Oct 20, 2022: As consumers head into this year’s restriction-free holiday season with bated breath, their holiday shopping behaviour is expected to be noticeably different than the last two years, according to a new survey commissioned by global payments provider, Blackhawk Network. The findings from the Holiday Gifting Report 2022, analysed the changing shopping preferences of consumers across nine geographies, including India, in the past 12 months. The survey, which mined the views of 1,040 Indian shoppers, found that 72% of Indian respondents plan to get together more often than last year for holiday celebrations.

“The pandemic has deeply impacted shopper sentiments around the holidays in the last two years. Our research found that 85% of surveyed Indians had planned to start this season’s holiday shopping in October or earlier, and over 48% of Indians surveyed plan to spend more this year compared to the previous year. With consumers continuing to shop across apps and devices, it’s vital for retailers to have a solid cross-channel strategy to meet consumer demands,” said Jay Jaffin, Chief Marketing Officer, Blackhawk Network.

To understand the retail landscape headed into the critical 2022 holiday season, let’s look at the key trends in India identified in the report:

Consumers plan to increase holiday spending despite tight budgets:

For the second consecutive year, shoppers anticipate they will spend more during the holiday season. Surveyed consumers plan an overall 37% increase in gift card spending this year, largely driven by Gen Z. Gift card sales are expected to see an even greater lift, with overall shoppers expected to spend 39% more on gift cards this year compared to last year, and Gen Z shoppers planning to increase gift card purchases by 42%.

A significant share of Indian consumers moved to shopping online over the past 2 years owing to lockdown restrictions and a rising internet and smartphone penetration rate in the country. The growing retail market will be largely driven by the younger generation in India, who prefer a mobile-first approach while shopping. 92% percent of surveyed respondents reported that gift cards are most thoughtful when they can choose to shop a gift of their choice. 95% of Indian consumers surveyed who are likely to buy a gift card this season will prefer online retailers (i.e., Amazon, eBay, Alibaba).

Deals are decking the halls this year

Many people may be planning on increasing their spending this holiday, but they are also shifting their shopping habits. 62% of Indians surveyed report that they plan to change their shopping behaviour. 63% of Indian respondents are prompted to start their holiday shopping when there are announcements about sales/promotions. For those ages 18 to 34, 72% of people surveyed are planning to purchase gifts for more people than last year. Clearly, there is a significant opportunity for brands to attract consumers with unique offers and deals.

Gift cards emerge as the preferred choice for festive gifting

Shoppers are more attracted towards giving gift cards this holiday season owing to its ease of use and flexibility: over 46% consumers surveyed believe that gift cards are easier to send than physical gifts. Amongst a varied range of categories, 94% of Indian respondents plan to purchase gift cards online. 87% of those surveyed agree that physical gift cards are appropriate holiday gifts, while 93% agree that digital gift cards are appropriate holiday gifts. The top 5 gift cards that are planned to be purchased in holiday 2022 among respondents include Online Retailer (95%), Clothing and Accessories (90%), Grocery (86%), Personal Care/Beauty (85%), Restaurants /Dining (84%).

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