Payments provider PayPal has unveiled a digital gift store in a bid to compete in the lucrative gift card space, which it claims offers consumers a greener alternative than single-use plastic gift cards.
According to research it conducted, almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of Australians would prefer to receive a digital gift card over a physical one for convenience, while 57 per cent said that digital alternatives are preferable because of their reduced environmental impact.
Earlier this year, the NSW government mandated a minimum three-year expiry dates on gift cards, up from the previous one year. Some retailers, including Woolworths and City Beach, then went a step further, removing expiry dates on gift cards altogether.
PayPal’s research suggested that digital gift cards may also reduce the prevalence of outstanding gift cards. It claimed that some 27 per cent of Australians have failed to redeem at least one gift card over the last 12 months, with over a third claiming it was because they had forgotten about it.
Almost half (47 per cent) of the 1,005 Australian adults surveyed admitted that losing a gift card is a problem, and digital versions would help to alleviate this problem.
“With gift cards being one of the most popular gifts given by Australians, they are an important part of our gift-giving culture, especially as we head towards the busy Christmas season. However, it is clear that Australians are becoming more environmentally conscious, and this is now translating to their shopping and gift-giving experiences,” said Emily Curlewis of PayPal Australia.
“We are excited to launch the PayPal Digital Gift Store, not only because it is a super easy and convenient way for Aussies to treat themselves and gift to others, but also because it has the potential to reduce our environmental footprint.”
Ms Curlewis added: “The outmoding of plastic gift cards is just one small step of many towards achieving a future that embraces both technology and sustainability.”
PayPal has already partnered with a number of prominent retailers, including Woolworths, Rebel Sport and JB HiFi, as well as digital services such as Netflix and Uber.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.