Gas stations are pumping out more gift card promotions to fill consumer demand.
Research from First Data Corp. found that the average gift card dollar volume grew 10 percent during the last six months of last year compared to the same period in 2010.
Consumers shopped earlier in the holiday season for prepaid cards and added more value to their purchases than during the prior year, according to an article at Convenience Store News.
The state of the economy in the U.S. led to a significant increase in the average consumer's usage of prepaid cards, said Silvio Tavares, senior vice president and division manager of First Data Global Information and Analytics Solutions. Consumers were more willing to reload gift cards in order to earn discounts and rewards in everyday spending categories of grocery, discount, and gasoline.
The study revealed that the typical U.S. household spent a record $4,155 on gasoline in 2011, about $1,300 more than the 10-year average, as prices at the pump climbed.
Pay-at-the-pump convenience is particularly attractive for the unbanked, notes a payments processing expert at US Dataworks.
Retailers will need to re-evaluate their gift card strategy as shoppers increasingly use mobile, e-commerce, social media and physical stores to make better purchasing decisions, the Convenience Store News article points out.
Deep discounting approaches are not sustainable. Gift cards must act as spending cards to help link payments and loyalty within a unified retail experience both digital and in-store.
Source: Convenience Store News, March 2012