Take a walk down any British high street and the sense of malaise is clear. Constricted consumer spending in the face of austerity; Brexit uncertainty; rising rent and business rates plus radical new shopping habits have all contributed to a sharp decline in high street visits – and in turn the rise of the empty-shop front. Could it be time for UK Gift Cards to play their part?

14 Shops Closing Every Day

It only takes around 20% of all available shop-fronts to be unoccupied to create a depressing high street environment. Once the rot sets in the domino effect takes over and before long once thriving town centres take on a air of despondency. At present around 14 shops are closing every day according to data from accountants PwC with fashion and electrical stores suffering the most.

Store closures have a direct impact on the gift card sector particularly when store groups shut up shop, but gift cards could also be part of the longer term recovery.

Gift Cards Drive A 67% Uplift

Data revealed in the UKGCVA’s annual State of the Nation research compiled by BDO show UK gift cards help drive traffic into stores; and deliver a big incremental spend once there. A huge 66.7% of respondents said that they normally spend a higher amount that the straight value of the gift card during redemption. When they looked at the average load on a gift card purchase, and factored in the stated extra expenditure, the uplift was 67%. Imagine the impact on a shop’s bottom line when shoppers visit a physical shop with a gift card in hand and the promise of such an increased spend.

Overall gift card sales are rising markedly in the UK with 83.7% of UK shoppers having purchased a gift card in their lives and new Generation Z shoppers the keenest users of gift cards. In difficult economic times shop managers are increasingly aware of the benefits of gift cards and waking up to the power they have in driving incremental spend. Lets hope it helps change the fortunes of Britain’s beleaguered high street.