Sales of gift cards designed specifically to lock spending into local economies across Scotland have topped £1m for the first time.
Corporate orders – mainly rewards for staff – have made up half of the sales of Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards across the country throughout 2023.
The figure is on top of about £14m-worth of spending through the gift cards after they were used by six local authorities across Scotland to support low income households in late 2022 – and, in turn, businesses in their region – through the cost of living crisis and longer-term recovery from Covid-19.
And the milestone has been struck in the final few shopping days before Christmas – bringing with it a renewed call for people to back businesses close to them during the festive season and beyond.
The gift cards are an extension of the wider Scotland Loves Local initiative, the drive spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) and supported by the Scottish Government for people to build stronger, more sustainable communities by choosing local – putting the shops, services and attractions in their area first.
STP Chief Officer Kimberley Guthrie said: “To reach £1m in sales for the year is fantastic – a real success story for local businesses across Scotland.
“The reality is that this is an investment for communities which is well in excess of £1m because we know that when people go into communities to spend their gift cards, they generally spend far more than its value, supporting all manner of local businesses – enjoying shopping, something to eat and time with friends or family.
“More than that, the cards are helping remind people of the great businesses on their doorstep and encouraging them to return time and again – supporting jobs and creating better places in which to live, work and visit.
“Hopefully the cards gifted by organisations as corporate and volunteer rewards this Christmas will be a present for places in the final festive run-in and throughout 2024 as people venture out to spend.”
There are in excess of 10,000 more sold cards in circulation than at this point last year. The average amount loaded on to a card is about £40.
This year has also seen the development of a digital gift card, the growth of which will continue next year.
Perth-based fintech Miconex delivers the gift card initiative for STP.
Miconex Managing Director Colin Munro said: “The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is going from strength to strength as both consumers and corporate businesses realise the impact that this card has for people, places and communities.
“Blending ultimate local choice with a significant cash injection to local economies, no other gift card can offer the support for local, flexibility and ease of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card.”
Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards are available for every local authority region in Scotland. More than 7,000 businesses across the country are registered to accept them.
Each card can only be spent within the region for which it is branded, which ensures the money loaded on to each card can only be spent with local businesses.
While born out of the need for people to get behind businesses in their community following the first coronavirus lockdown, the wider Scotland Loves Local campaign has grown into a long-term initiative for people to lay the foundations for stronger, more sustainable communities of the future by thinking local first and supporting local enterprises of all kinds.
Find out more at www.lovelocal.scot/giftcard