Dutch State of the Nation: Research from Netherlands Gift Cards Industry Association (BVCNL) 2022

Carried out by GFK Netherlands


HILVERSUM, MARCH 21, 2022 – Gift cards are and remain a popular gift to give and to receive. Not only during the pandemic, but also in the period with fewer restrictions. This is apparent from research that the Netherlands Gift Cards Industry Association had carried out by GfK Netherlands. For many consumers, gift cards are among their favourite gifts and even specifically request a gift card. The highlight of the Christmas season. With a personal preference for a gift card, this is the most favourite end-of-year gift for 49% of employees.

Many people like to give a gift card. The main reason (56%) is that a gift card is more fun than cash. Together with the various options that gift cards offer, this is the most important purchase motive. Of course, the recipient’s wishes also play an important role.

Changes due to covid

In the Netherlands, an estimated € 1.7 billion worth of gift cards is bought each year. Logically, clear differences can be seen in the past two years compared to previous years. Gift cards were under pressure in hospitality and culture, while web shops often performed extra well. These differences can also be seen in the places where consumers bought their gift cards. Online as a preferred channel rose sharply in 2020 due to the corona restrictions. This share has fallen again last year. Nevertheless, the online share remains substantial at 32% and significantly higher than the 21% in the pre-corona year 2019. The main reasons for consumers to buy gift cards in the store is because they like to have them directly at home, because they prefer the original card or box then give a digital version and because the gift cards are packaged better. An online variant with a code is considered impersonal by the majority.

An increasingly personal gift

33% of people who buy a gift card give it as a birthday present. The cards are then mainly bought for children, relatives and friends (a total of 64%). This makes gift cards a common and personal gift. The gift card is by far a favourite with employers as an end-of-year gift. About half of all employees who have received an end-of-year gift prefer a gift card. This makes the gift card a lot more popular as an end-of-year gift than the Christmas package.

Minimum validity

The minimum validity of gift cards has been extended from 1 to 2 years as of January 1, 2022. Not much has changed for the consumer since in practice many cards have been valid for more than 1 year. The GfK survey also shows that 91% of gift cards in 2021 were spent within 12 months.

Extra spending

Gift cards provide additional revenue at the location where they are redeemed. 44% of consumers spend more than the value stated on the gift card. The average extra expenditure in 2021 was no less than € 39. This makes them important for local entrepreneurs, among others, who can put the turnover to good use. The average value of a gift card received rose to € 40 last year.


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