Aberdeen’s economy has benefited from a cash injection of more than £220,000 in the year since a local gift card scheme was launched.
Its promoters said sales of the Aberdeen Gift Card are the highest in Scotland, with thousands of buyers choosing to give a one as a gift for Christmas, birthdays or other special occasions.
Launched a year ago by the city centre business improvement district (Bid) Aberdeen Inspired, the card can be used like currency in a range of shops, bars, restaurants, beauty and hair salons and other outlets in the city.
Now at HMT, Music Hall and Lemon Tree
Aberdeen Performing Arts, which manages His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen Music Hall and the Lemon Tree, is the latest venue to sign up to accept the card, allowing the recipient to use it to buy tickets for a theatre show, comedy gig or concert.
The Aberdeen Gift Card can be redeemed at more than 200 other businesses in the city, including independent and national traders such as Marks & Spencer, Primark, Finnie’s, Jamieson & Carry, Chaophraya and many more.
Each card is a prepaid Mastercard which is valid for 12 months from purchase.
The Aberdeen Gift Card is provided through Perth-based payments provider, Miconex.
More than 70 towns, cities and regions in the UK offer town and city gift card programmes, including Arran, Crieff, Elgin, Glasgow and Perth in Scotland and Cardiff and Cheltenham in England and Wales.
A trend for shopping local has driven adoption. Recent figures show that 42.3% of 35–54-year-olds purchased a gift card as a present specifically to support local businesses.
Trend for ‘shop local’
Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex, said several similar schemes are springing up around the UK and Ireland in response to the “shop local” movement.
He added: “The success of the Aberdeen Gift Card is testament to the drive from Aberdeen Inspired to make its gift card an outstanding gifting choice for both customers and corporate organisations, and to Aberdonians for taking up the call to support local.
“One year in, and the Aberdeen Gift Card is the most successful town & city gift card programmes in Scotland.
“With Aberdeen Performing Arts joining the scheme, the Aberdeen Gift Card is going from strength to strength.”
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired said: “We are overwhelmed by the success of the Aberdeen Gift Card in its first year and the incredible sales of more than £220,000 translate into real revenue which is staying here in the city instead of being spent online or elsewhere.
“The gift card is easy to use and has also proved to be a popular choice for employers wanting to support Aberdeen while also giving their staff a reward they will appreciate. Everyone who receives a card can enjoy spending in our shops, restaurants, bars and other outlets.
“We are so pleased to be able to welcome Aberdeen Performing Arts to the growing list of venues which now access the gift card and it opens up the choices for recipients to enjoy some culture as part of their visit to the city centre.”
He added: “Despite the tough times the high street has faced in 2021, we have a fantastic range of retail and hospitality on offer, especially in the run up to Christmas with the markets and festive village on Broad Street, and the Aberdeen Gift Card is a great way to get behind it, show support and back Aberdeen city centre.”
Jane Spiers , chief executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts, said the performing arts organisation was proud to be part of the scheme.
“As the operator of three major city centre venues we are pleased to be able to accept the Aberdeen Gift Card as payment for tickets as well as our bars and restaurants,” she said.
“Along with retail and hospitality in particular, the arts have suffered unprecedented challenges over the past two years and it’s fantastic to be able to welcome visitors again.
“We hope they will enjoy visiting the city and spending time here as they choose what to buy with their gift cards.”
The Aberdeen Gift Card can be purchased from the dedicated shop on the lower mall of the Bon Accord centre.
Cards can also be purchased online and delivered straight to the recipient.
It is available to buy from £10 to £500 and recipients can use the card in one transaction or across several.
Employers can also place bulk orders of the gift card directly with Aberdeen Inspired and businesses who reward staff with the Aberdeen Gift Card can take advantage of the UK trivial benefits scheme, with cashless benefits of up to £50 qualifying for tax relief.