If you are thinking about giving gift cards as presents this year, you might want to think again, as new research reveals only 1 in 5 (21%) Millennials have redeemed gift cards and vouchers online over the past year.

Despite this, almost all Millennials (95%) would consider purchasing a digital gift card or voucher as a gift, according to the research by UK Gift Card & Voucher Association (UKGCVA).

The millennial respondents also admitted that they prefer to receive physical gift cards, with 42% selecting plastic cards, over their digital counterparts.

The research also revealed that nearly 1 in 3 (28%) consumers have never redeemed a gift card or voucher online. This figure points to a barrier to consumers being able to redeem physical gift cards and vouchers online, which is surprising given the level of e-commerce in this country.

Baby boomers however, are more likely to redeem gift cards, as the research found over a quarter (28%) of this generation have redeemed a gift card or voucher online between 6-10 times over the past 12 months.

The figures uncovered an unexpected change in buying patterns, with Baby Boomers preferring to receive and use digital options compared to millennial children and grandchildren.

With a fifth (21%) of Millennials stating that they would buy a digital gift card or voucher for Mother’s or Father’s Day, it could be argued that they are purchasing them for their family members, who then go on to redeem them online.

Gail Cohen, director general of the UKGCVA, said: “This research demonstrates that there is a clear shift in buying patterns between the consumers purchasing digital gift cards and vouchers and those receiving them. The UKGCVA’s members are already actioning the implementation of digital solutions across both B2B and B2C markets, but issuers and service providers across the board must respond to an increase in digital demand.

“The marketing of gift card programmes must therefore be adjusted to place greater importance on digital channels and social media to attract a millennial audience and encourage online redemption across the industry.”