Gift cards worth just 78p in the £1 according to Brits

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
December 21, 2018, 10:08 AM GMT+0

Young people have far less favourable views of gift cards than their elders

Those Britons considering buying a young relative a gift card for Christmas would do well to reconsider, following the results of a new YouGov Omnibus survey.

Overall, half of Britons (51%) say receiving a gift card is no better or worse than getting the same value in cash. One quarter (27%) of Brits think getting a gift voucher is actually worse than getting the same money in hard currency, while just 18% think gift cards are financially superior.

But breaking the results down by age indicates that young Britons have turned against gift cards. While only 14% of those over 65 think gift cards are worse than sterling, this figure increases to almost half (47%) of 18 to 24 year olds.

Men are also noticeably more hostile towards gift cards than women (33% of men think they’re worse than cash, compared to 21% of women).

What is the true value of a gift card?

To test how much money depreciates when converted into a gift card, we asked how much a card would have to be worth in order for them to choose it over £20 in cash.

The most common individual answer, at 34%, was £20 – that is to say, a third of Britons would choose a £20 gift card over £20 in cash.

Other common answers given were £25 (chosen by 19% of people) and £30 (chosen by 11%). Overall, 39% of Britons said they would need the gift card to be worth more than the cash equivalent in order to consider taking it. A further 11% said that they would never choose a gift card over cash.

The hostility young people have towards gift cards means that two thirds (66%) would require one to be worth more than the cash equivalent in order to take it.

Using the survey results, we’ve determined that on average Britons see every £1 of a gift card’s value to be worth only 78p in real money (or to put it another way, a gift card would have to be worth around £26 to be the equivalent of £20 in cash).*

Among 18 to 24 year olds, gift cards are worth on average almost a third less, being seen as only worth 68p in the £1 (at this value it would take a gift card worth around £30 to be worth the same as £20 in cash).

* for these calculations we conservatively assigned a value of £60 to those who answered “more than £50”. Calculations exclude those who answered "don't know" or that they would never choose a gift card over cash.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here

Find out more about YouGov Omnibus

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