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The Role Of Gift Cards In The Cost of Living Crisis

Posted on 21 November 2022
Read time 2 mins
Author Sophia 🌱

We’re currently enduring what is dubbed the ‘most acute cost-of-living crisis of any G7 nation’, so employers are exploring new and innovative ways to support their employees with rising household costs. 

We’ve already seen how gift cards can be used to help private, and public sector organizations achieve their goals during their issuance as part of the Free School Meals (FSM) initiative, which enabled eligible children to access Free School Meals during COVID-19 and continues to provide support during school holidays.

Traditionally, gift cards are used by employers as a way to reward and incentivize their employees, but with living costs rising, new use cases are emerging, resulting in gift cards now being used more than ever to help employees not just as a gesture of support but as practical help too. Spending a gift card with grocery stores, for example, offers maximum flexibility to many people working hard to balance their household budgets.  


Supporting Your Employees Through The Cost Of Living Crisis 


This collective shift away from using gift cards solely as rewards and incentives are reflected in recent findings by the Gift Card and Voucher Association (GCVA) and KPMG UK, which indicate a sharp 59.2% rise in gift card sales for use between employers and their employees since the cost of living crisis began, with employers increasingly using them as a mechanism to support employees.


As Christmas approaches, putting additional pressure on household budgets, gift cards have the potential to significantly support an employee's month-on-month budget, making them a powerful way to make budgets go further in today’s market.


Give The Gift of Choice to Your Employees


With inflation hitting record levels, people are being more careful with their money, but they haven’t stopped spending entirely. For many, it makes financial sense to set cash aside for everyday essentials like energy bills, but people are also utilizing gift cards as a means of clever budgeting.


"73% of employees surveyed said they would prefer to receive a multi-store gift card rather than a single retailer gift card"

In new research by Scottish fintech Miconex, employees expressed their preference for gift cards that can be spent with more than one business. Overall, 73% of employees surveyed said they would prefer to receive a multi-store gift card rather than a single retailer gift card. The importance of choice in these findings is clear; however, for businesses, gifting a generic multi-brand gift card can sometimes feel like an impersonal decision.

For the best of both worlds, consider giving your employees a Choice Link. Unlike generic multi-brand gift cards, the brands included with your Choice Link can be customized to suit the desires of your employees, and you can brand it to reflect your own organization’s style too.

So if you want to help pay for Christmas Dinner, why not give your employees a Choice Link loaded with the UK’s most popular supermarkets? Or how about a new Christmas Party wardrobe? Customize your Choice Link to include a variety of fan-favourite fashion brands.

At the end of the day, what you choose to include on your Choice Link is up to you, but one thing is for sure - the gift of choice is arguably the best present an employer can give their employees during the current economic crisis. Not only does the gift of choice show you value and listen to the wants and needs of your employees, but it also builds loyalty and fosters valuable employee relationships. 


Doing More With Digital Gift Cards 


Employee reward and recognition is just one example of how digital gift cards can help employees during a cost of living crisis. At Tillo, we’re currently working with a number of employee benefit providers, including moneyNmore, Reward Gateway and Next Jump, to help them deliver new initiatives that utilize gift cards in innovative ways.


To find out more about how the Tillo platform and the use of digital gift cards can help you support your employees during the cost of living crisis or to discover new use cases for gift cards within your business, get in touch with us today. 

As the countdown to Christmas begins, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll reward your employees this festive season. For businesses in Ireland, an increase in the Small Benefit Exemption scheme has just made that a whole lot easier. 


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