by Alex Palmer | November 20, 2014
A new study finds that nearly three-quarters of consumers plan to buy a digital gift card this holiday season. The research, which comes from incentive gift card provider InComm, found a particularly high level of interest in digital gift cards from consumers aged 18 to 35.

The research, which was released on Nov. 20, found that 71 percent of respondents intended to purchase at least one gift card from an online website or through a mobile app, while 74 percent expect to purchase at least one digital gift card. Those in the 18-35 age range were even more likely, with 85 percent expecting to buy a digital gift card during the holidays -- and 90 percent stating that they were more interested in digital gift cards now than they were two to three years ago.

More than three-quarters (77 percent) of this same cohort also say they prefer to have a digital gift card scanned from their phone rather than in the form of an email printout.

"This research shows that digital gift cards are rising in popularity, especially with those in younger age brackets," said Mike Fletcher, general manager of digital solutions for InComm, in a statement. "It's also interesting to see how many respondents are increasingly interested in storing digital cards on their phones for self-use."

Physical gift cards still have the edge in overall purchase behavior. The study found that of those who have purchased a gift card through an online website or mobile app, 41 percent purchased a physical gift card while 32 percent purchased a digital gift card.  Twenty-seven percent purchased both.

However, 79 percent of respondents say they are likely to purchase at least one digital gift card in 2015, compared to 89 percent of those between ages 18 and 35. 

The top reasons respondents  gave for selecting a digital gift card were instant delivery (61 percent), ease of sending (33 percent), ease and speed of purchase (27 percent), and difficulty of losing (24 percent).

For Incentive's more in-depth Q&A with InComm's Mike Fletcher about the future of mobile gift cards, click here.