by Alex Palmer | April 25, 2017
The global gift card market is going nowhere but up, a new survey finds. Persistence Market Research predicts that the international market for gift cards is likely to grow to $698 billion by 2024, more than double its current value ($307 billion) -- with corporate incentives playing an important role.

The report, titled "Global Market Study on Gift Cards," draws its market value from the amount of revenue generated from the sales of gift cards across all the product types, along with indicators such as GDP, wholesale and retail trade, merchandise trade, and price. The report attributes the market's rapid growth in part to how companies and organizations have "actively adopted gift cards as an incentive to employees for their credible performances." Also key is the fast-expanding mobile use of gift cards and branded currency and other innovative tools in the area of e-commerce and digital, which have helped broaden gift cards' appeal to younger consumers. 

Persistence Market Research expects much of this global growth to come from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Currently it estimates that North America and Europe account for more than 65 percent of the global gift card market, while the Latin America, Middle East, and Africa markets remain "at a nascent stage." But APAC looks poised for big gift card growth thanks to the expanding use of smartphones and e-commerce, and use of gift cards as corporate incentives.  

"There is an increasing demand for gift cards in the corporate sector across the globe," reads the report. "Companies are offering incentives to employees in the form of gift cards to recognize employees' contributions and achievements. Approximately 25 percent to 35 percent of a merchant's gift card revenue is driven by B2B sales of gift cards".

The full report, which is available for purchase, looks at specific factors and market trends shaping the gift card market over the next few years, delving into specific card types (e.g. retail closed loop, e-gifting, restaurant closed loop) and merchant types (e.g. department store, grocery store). It also looks at the market performance of a dozen top gift card merchants. These include open-loop providers such as Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc., InComm, and National Gift Card Corp.; as well as closed-loop providers including Starbucks, Amazon, and Apple.