Well, strictly speaking, the “Midsummer Night” of Shakespearean fame comes just after the summer solstice in June. Here in America, summer seems to run from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with July 4th in-between, making July our own “midsummer.”
And in the spirit of holiday seasons everywhere, we come to speak of gifts, and gift-giving, even under the stark summer sun (or the gentling summer moon!). Indeed, we come to speak of gift cards.
Two different reports this week talk about the resurgence of gift cards among consumers.
In the first, the Mercator Group, an adviser to the payments industry, has issued a new study on Retail Gift Card Trends in the United States. In it, they declare “after a decline in 2013, the gift card market rallied in 2014 and retailers saw their customers loading more funds onto closed-loop cards.
“Retailers reported that the winter holiday season was slower for them in 2014 than 2013,” the report acknowledged, but “that did not affect the overall market. Total loads in the segment climbed despite a couple of slow months.” Additionally, “retail issuers seemed to emphasize consumer incentives, as growth in that segment was strong.”
The Retail Gift Card Association goes even further than Mercator, declaring in their own findings that “consumers are increasingly resorting to gift cards, with over 70 percent of consumers planning to buy them as gifts for holidays this spring and summer.
“Gift cards are not only becoming the choice of gift for givers, but also the preferred gift for receivers, with 95 percent hoping to receive them on special occasions like weddings, Father’s Day and graduation this year.”
And if you think that means that with the passing of Father’s Day, most of summer’s gift-giving opportunities have gone with Midsummer, well, there are always the weddings (we are invited to one this October, actually. Hmm… bring gift cards?)
Additionally, Amazon is seeking to create its own Midsummer “Black Friday,” on the occasion of its 20th anniversary later this July. They’ve announced “Prime Day,” a Black Friday-like single day filled with lightning specials, day-long discounts, and other sell-it-fast techniques more reminiscent of Thanksgiving weekend rather than the run-up to Bastille Day.
The specials are available to every Amazon Prime member (or anyone enrolling for a Prime free trial), and it will be interesting to see what trends the single day yields, going into the back-to-school and (traditional) holiday season.
Amazon has always been one of the prime vendors of gift cards (pun intended?) — virtual or otherwise — and all signs point to your customers wanting to have this option.
If you need help setting up prepaid/gift card options for your customers, contact your AVPS Rep, and let us lend a hand.
We promise we’re not too busy with midsummer revelry to be of service; in fact, we’re here to help even during your midsummer revelry.
On which note, we’d better let you get back to it. See you in mid-July!