The markets for gift cards around the world have steadily been on the increase, in no small part due to the proliferation of smartphone and online shopping preferences. How many of us have sent a loved one an iTunes or Amazon voucher as a last-minute birthday gift?

North America and Europe are by far the greatest lovers of gift cards and make up around 65% of the global mobile gift cards market. The Netherlands is an impressive example of this, with expected spend growing from US$ 2085.9 million in 2019 to reach US$ 2646.7 million by 2024.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

It is, in fact, the Netherland’s booming retail sector that is contributing so fiercely to the growing demand for gift cards. The likes of Zara and Ikea now offer ‘e-cards’ in addition to their more well known in-store gift cards, which can be used online or in their shops. Zalando, a hugely popular fashion e-retailer in the Netherlands, offers customers the opportunity to fully customise gift cards and electronically send them to the lucky recipient.

An even more innovative example of gift card solutions in the Netherlands is Yesty, which allows users to send gift cards using WhatsApp. A simple and user-friendly app gives gift-givers the ability to quickly choose, customise and send a gift card for a number of different retailers. They’ll even message the recipient when the gift card is about to expire!

Pandemic Panic-Buying

The year of the lockdown has also undoubtedly limited people’s options when it comes to gift-giving. Making the safest bet in a world where we weren’t even allowed into shops for a good chunk of the year, has inevitably pushed people towards online options. Sending a gift card to a friend on their birthday has felt to many like the obvious option.

That’s not to say the overall economic downturn won’t take somewhat of a toll on the industry; that’s unavoidable.’s recent report, however, anticipates that the adoption of e-gift cards is set to rise significantly over the next 4-6 quarters, once it recovers with everyone else, from the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown. They expect a significant change in the market to reflect the Netherland’s growing e-commerce market.

Corporate Reward and Recognition

Corporate reward programmes have been becoming increasingly flexible, to reflect the diverse employee preferences within their often international, or certainly regional, workforces. A big part of this is the offer of e-gift cards as a way of rewarding employees above and beyond annual bonus schemes.

More and more employers in the Netherlands are signing up with the likes of WeekendjeWeg to offer gift cards which can be used in more than 550 bungalow parks and 2,000 hotels in Berlin, France, Germany and other popular destinations. Companies offering e-gift cards in the Netherlands would be wise to tap into the corporate reward and recognition market as an excellent way to expand their business – after all, with more and more people working from home, companies will be looking for ways to reward employees now that the onsite gym and cheap coffee aren’t of much use anymore. Putting the power of choice into employees’ hands is a smart choice for employers and a boon for the gift-card market.