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Consumer gift card and voucher sales have soared in the first quarter of 2014, growing by 17% from 2013, an increase which is above expectations for the quarter, according to statistics fromThe UK Gift Card & Voucher Association (UKGCVA), the trade body representing the key players in the £5 billion gift voucher, cards and stored value solutions market.

A new report compiled independently by consultants at BDO shows that in the first quarter of 2014, the gift card and voucher industry grew by 10.53%. Strong growth was also seen by both gift card and paper vouchers with an increase of 17.8% and 10.6% respectively. The largest channel by far remains direct store sales (representing 70.1% of total consumer sales), which demonstrated robust growth of 6.21%, contributing a large portion of total consumer market growth.

Andrew Johnson, director-general of the UKGCVA, comments:“Growth of over ten per cent is a very positive start to 2014, a result we are extremely pleased with. It’s a sure sign that the gift card and voucher industry is continuing its momentum. Performance during the first period of any given year could be described as the litmus test for what retailers can expect for the year ahead. It’s encouraging to see a boost in consumer confidence, which has contributed to the increase in consumer gift card and voucher sales.”

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