Miconex CA

The 8 big shop local trends of 2023 (and what to expect for 2024)

We looked back at the big trends of 2023, with a sneak peek of what to look out for in 2024.

The shop local revolution gathered pace in 2023 as more places, organisations and consumers embraced local. We looked back at the big trends of 2023, with a sneak peek of what to look out for in 2024.

  1. Diverting spend back to bricks and mortar businesses

In 2023, there was a growing realisation that places could capitalise on the global demand for gift cards and divert online spend back to independent and national bricks and mortar businesses using local gift cards. The number of places with a local gift card program backed by Miconex technology topped 200 for the first time in 2023. 26 new towns, cities and downtown areas launched their own local gift card. In 2024, places will continue to search for solutions to drive footfall and spend in their high streets and downtowns.

  1. Increased demand for shop local – £12.4 million in sales for 2023

Shop local sentiment was extremely strong in 2023 with our research showing that 96% of people were keen to support local globally. Sales in the UK across Miconex’s Town & City Gift Card and Scotland Loves Local Gift Card programs were up 44%, with sales in Ireland over €7 million. The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card reached a milestone of £1 million in sales in 2023 for the first time. Downtown Gift Card sales in Canada topped $3 million in 2023, with US Downtown Gift Card sales topping $1 million. In 2024, shop local sentiment will continue to build.

  1. Accessibility at the forefront of shop local

1 in 3 people choose gifts based on how soon they can get them. Places around the world put this fact into their shop local strategies for 2023 with strong results. The Aberdeen Gift Card, the UK’s most successful Town & City Gift Card with over £590,000 in sales generated in 2023 and secured over 50% of sales in-person at the Bon Accord Shopping Centre. In 2024, in person sales will be at the heart of sales for local gift cards.

  1. Places embracing local

The UK continued on its shop local trajectory with Brighton, St Ives, High Wycombe and Lincolnshire launching their own Town & City Gift Card, plus Waterford in Ireland, and new Night Out Gift Cards for Canterbury and Chichester. Growth was pronounced in North America with Grasslands, Quartier Petit Champlain, Edmonton, Deerfoot City Mall, Argyle, Brampton, Brockville, Sidney By The Sea, Charlottetown, Victoria, Regina, The Eglinton Way, Kingston, Barrie, Calgary and St Catharines launching programs in Canada, plus Rapid City, Friendswood, Deadwood, Bitterroot Valley, Moscow in the USA. Expect demand for local gift cards that deliver consistent, measurable results to rise in 2024.

  1. Organisations switching to local gift cards

2023 saw a marked move by organisations towards local gift cards for staff rewards and incentives from Christmas rewards to long service awards, recruitment and client acquisition. In Scotland, over 50% of sales in 2023 were corporate rewards with organisations like Robert Gordon University and Shell making the move to local. In 2024, places are enabling even more organisations to switch to local gift cards.

  1. National retailers loving local

Miconex’s local gift cards are unique in their mix of independent businesses alongside national brands. Big retailers have been keen to embrace the local trend in 2023, with new retailers including Co-op, Smyths Toys and Lidl joining the likes of M&S, Primark, New Look and Aldi as part of Town & City Gift Card and Scotland Loves Local Gift Card initiatives. Top national retailers for redemptions of Town & City Gift Cards in 2023 included Primark, M&S, Boots, Argos, TK Maxx, Next, Sainsbury’s and Aldi.

  1. Collaboration to power shop local

In 2023, Miconex collaborated with Sweden’s CBScity to further the shop local ethos around the world. CBScity will continue to leverage Miconex technology, including capabilities for mobile payments and place-based digital gift cards facilitated by their Love Local app, to enhance the accessibility of its local gift cards. In 2024, collaboration to power shop local remains firmly on the agenda.

  1. Supporting service users – and the local economy

It wasn’t only corporate firms choosing local in 2023 with many third sector organisations opting for local gift cards over alternatives. Glasgow charity PEEK gave families in need a £50 Glasgow Gift Card at Christmas, ensuring families didn’t go without, whilst Dundee based Help for Kids used the Dundee Gift Card to support homeless teens. 67% of non-profits expect service user demand to increase in 2024, and this year, we expect to see even more innovation from charities using local gift cards to support service users.

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