According to a new line of research conducted by PayPal, it's newly been discovered that a total of 58% of Australians have received a plastic single-use gift card in the past year, however, an incredible 57% of consumers would have reportedly preferred an environmentally conscious (and easily accessible) digital alternative.
According to Paypal Australia's resident shopping expert, Emily Curlewis stated “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.”

Recently, the company launched a brand new service: ‘PayPal Digital Gift Store’ which is designed to offer Australian consumers an online marketplace to purchase digital gift cards. At launch, PayPal has since partnered with major Australian retailers including eBay, JB HI-FI, Rebel Sports, Hoyts, Uber, Woolworths and many, many more still to come.

Curlewis also continued, stating, “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 to potential to reduce our environmental footprint.

“More and more, services are being digitised to create convenient and enjoyable customer experiences. PayPal has worked with our retail partners, some of the biggest in Australia, to transform one of the last physical elements of the shopping experience into a digital one.”

Additionally, PayPal research successfully found more than a third (34%) of Australian consumers had been forced to purchased plastic gift cards in the past from various individual stores due to there was no easily accessible digital alternative available. According to PayPal, Australians waste up to 140 tonnes of plastic on gift cards each year alone.

In addition, an incredible 27% of Australian respondents reported that they had actually failed to redeem one or more of their physical gift cards in the past 12 months. Adding to that figure, 36% indicated this was because they had forgotten about the card, 32% because the card had expired and 28% because the nothing in the relevant store interested them.

“It’s wonderful to see that mobile and ecommerce trends are also working to create a more sustainable future. The outmoding of plastic gift cards is just one small step of many towards achieving a future that embraces both technology and sustainability,” concluded Curlewis in an interview.

The digital gift card startup was originally first launched and seen by consumers in 2014 and has since forged a high number of key partnerships with many of the same retailers now on Paypal’s new platform, including JB Hi-Fi and Rebel Sport, which continue to grow the idea each day. While retail partners will now have more choice for where to shop, gifts to give to others, and just accessibility in general, founder Claire Morris singled out her company’s focus on personalisation when it came down to how the company would compete against those doing something similar.

“This is an exciting time to be in the digital gift card space as both consumers and businesses move away from plastic gift cards and towards digital gift cards,” Morris said in a statement when interviewed, as reported by Smart Company.

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