Premium Incentive Products - Inspiration for Motivation Newsletter Features

Feature Story

April 2019


Big Box Retailers See Gift Card Growth

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IRF Announces 2019 Incentive Trends - February 2019

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Market Leaders Address Challenges to Corporate Gifts, Rewards & Recognition - November 2018

IRF Projects Increase in Data-Driven Decisions & Delivery of Personalized Rewards - October 2018

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IRF Study Reveals Difficulties for Program Owners - August 2018

IRF Listens to Voice of the Market - July 2018

IRF Study Looks at Corporate Program Owners of Incentive Programs - June 2018

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Report Shows Gen Z, Millennials Changing Loyalty - April 2018

Incentive Research Foundation Announces Top 10 Trends for 2018 - March 2018

Experiment Assesses People's Preference for Rewards - February 2018

Bill Keeps Tax Exclusion for Incentives - January 2018

IRF Examines Reward Presentation & Attraction - December 2017

Industry Pros Discuss Current, Future Challenges to Corporate Gift & Recognition Market - November 2017

Meetings & Events Forecast Shows Increased Confidence in 2018 - October 2017

Research Shows Technology Is Transforming How Companies, Employees Interact - September 2017

Growing Incentive Gift Card Market Provides Opportunities - August 2017

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Survey: Employee Recognition Widespread - June 2017

Study: Financial Services Industry Needs to Focus on Engagement - May 2017

IRF Research Looks at Wellness in Meetings & Incentive Travel - April 2017

Big Box store gift cards are more popular than ever, according to recent research from National Gift Card. The findings from its annual gift card report detail redemption statistics for loyalty, rewards and incentive programs in 2018.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the big box category topped the list of reward categories, with 30 percent of the total redemption volume in gift card programs. This is a 4 percent increase from last year's findings.

Category rankings for B2B gift card sales are:

  1. Big box retailers (30 percent)
  2. Open loop (24.8 percent)
  3. Entertainment (10.3 percent)
  4. Department stores (7.4 percent)
  5. Quick service (5 percent)
  6. Gas/automotive (4.2 percent)
  7. Home improvement (3.2 percent)
  8. Specialty (3.2 percent)
  9. Casual Dining (3 percent)
  10. Canadian sales (2.7 percent)
  11. Apparel (2.5 percent)
  12. Grocery/pharmacy (1.7 percent)
  13. Sports and wellness (1 percent)
  14. Travel (1 percent)

In addition to the significant change in big box retailers, open loop (e.g., Visa and American Express prepaid cards) saw an increase of 3 percent. Entertainment, on the other hand, decreased 7 percent.

The top five specific gift cards were: Visa prepaid reward cards, Amazon, Walmart, iTunes, and Target.

When it came to program type performance, loyalty and reward agencies led the charge significantly, making 39 percent of the total annual spend. Employee benefit companies came in second, with healthcare and wellness, and mobile app companies close behind.

The ratio of digital vs. physical card redemptions in B2B programs was 30.7 percent to 69.3 percent/ This was a 7.33 percent increase in digital from the previous year.

"We expect digital gift card redemption and sales to continue to climb," said Eric Thiegs, NGC's chief revenue officer. "We're seeing more gift cards clients in both the retailer and corporate arena look to partners like NGC to utilize gift card API technology and white label solutions to customize gift card programs with mobile and real-time features. This will positively impact the end-user experience for digital gift card redemptions."