Republished here on: 29 November 2011
Link to original article in Indian Express here
Responding to a consumer survey on gifting, a young professional in Gurgaon said: “I’ve always loved buying gifts for others, be it my father, mother, brother, colleagues or friends. But I always found it strange that they never used or seemed to enjoy my gifts! Earlier, I blamed it on their weird taste, but when my boyfriend started doing the same, I couldn’t con myself any more. Now, I play safe and get everyone gift cards instead. So they can choose whatever product they want to buy and I get to see them enjoy it. That’s happiness for both parties.” The young lady is not alone in her happiness. Owing to the new gifting trend that has emerged across the country, gift cards from leading brands are now sold from stores and portals in more than 150 towns and cities and can be redeemed across more than 2,000 premium brand stores. It’s not just different tastes that drive the demand for gift cards. It’s also a question of saving time. Not planning gift purchases in time problem across the world, and India is no different. Gifting is a last-day activity, with more than 70 per cent Indians doing their gift shopping on the last day. With gift cards, there’s help at hand. Gift card usage happens on multiple occasions and for multiple reasons. It could be for gifting to one’s near and dear ones, a way of showing appreciation to team members, a convenient way of managing large corporate staff programmes or simply a way to give children the freedom to buy what they want (without the parents going mad with the choosing process). The late CK Prahlad used to say India could be thought of as a kaleidoscope. With each small twist, India shows up differently. If we focus on one face or angle, we miss a thousand others. With the introduction of gift cards, the big picture is never lost. In India, brands across consumption categories have launched gift card programmes. These include players like Trent-Landmark, Titan, Peter England, Fastrack, Van Heusen, Puma, Raymond, Flipkart, PVR Cinemas, TTK Prestige and Hidesign. And consumers across age groups are biting the bullet. Gift cards have become a preferred option with both brands and consumers for the following reasons: 1. They are convenient to use; 2. They are secure across the desired set of brand outlets; 3. They offer versatile program flexibility; 4. They are attractive in design and offer good badge value in the wallet; and 5. They enhance the association of the brand with gifting. Market research shows that 88 per cent of Indian retail consumers are aware of the concept of gift cards. When questioned, 78 per cent evinced interest in buying such cards—thus making it that much easier for brands to promote their gift card programs to consumers.
Tired of Last minute dash to the nearest toy store or a gift store, wondering what to pick, guessing if your gift would be liked by the kid whom you don’t know, and frustrated in being forced to pick something useful, from the limited choices in the market, due to budget or time constraint…and so goes the list….. Many a times I’ve wondered why we go through it, when heart of hearts we won’t be surprised if all our efforts will just land up being recycled….But we still do it, honestly, I think its to save our face and keep up with the social stigma, nevertheless, in some cases we genuinely care to do so…. and Am sure I am not alone in this ordeal…. Why do we have to feel drained when we ought to be having fun??? That’s the very reason, I turned to gifting giftcards…Nowadays! am not worried in seeing an invite..I love getting one and am ready to have fun!! Also! Won’t you agree when I say- It’s easy to buy gift for a girl as compared to a guy?? Most girls get excited on a simple gift as trivial as a chocolate when its wrapped with an element of surprise!!!!(Well !!! That’s the way they’re made! ) Yet! most guys never get that !! I hear often stories of men over enthusiastically buying a surprise gift for their loved ones but landup surprising themselves at their drastically wrong choice of color or size 😉 For such ’Men from Mars’ giftcards is a savior! They are sure to score brownie points ;-)) Not to forget! It was a rude shock to me that even after 14 yrs people still gift anything under the roof for any occasion without giving a slightest thot!!From Shield with God pics at babyshowers to a fancy car for a 4 yr old girl’s b’day!!! It’s so ridiculous! A giftcard with half the value would have brought a bigger smile to the giftee’s!! There are many such reasons for the need of a giftcard!! I feel the awareness to giftcards should be spread in our society!! I accept it lacks the personal touch at the outset but I feel it’s the best option for both the parties and it truly brings out the very purpose of gifting!!!! Having said that, ‘There are times when you got to shop but for everything else get a Giftcard!!!’ – Sadiq Ahamed
Written by a Happy Mom of a 5-year old) Celebrating a kid’s Birthday is no mean task. A lot of thought goes into deciding the party theme, decoration, menu and party games. This year, i chose colorful papers with my son Aryaman’s picture as invitation card. The Birthday theme was cartoons. The kids were asked to dress up like their favorite cartoon character and a surprise gift awaited the best dressed kid. My 5 year old bundle of joy was brimming with happiness seeing balloons, streamers, cartoon cutouts hung all around. The kid’s game was rather simple and exciting – bursting balloons! The kids went rather wild with joy on getting the surprise gift of candies and chocolates. Finally, time to cut the cake and burst crackers. It looked like another Diwali celebration. Then everybody binged on the special delicacies prepared for the occasion. It was followed by a little dance act with the parents also pushed into it by the kids. And finally after all the kids got tired dancing to the tunes of ‘ALL IZZ WELL’, ‘Gol, Gol, Gol Golmaal’, “Shiela ki Japani” as one of the younger one calls and the clock also clicking 1:00am, it was time to bid adieu. As soon as all the guests left, we intended to go to sleep but Aryaman just could not hold on to his anxiety of opening gifts. So one gift pack after another, he opened them and was elated at receiving toys. He was dumping the clothes gift packs – they don’t excite most kids anyway. And we received a very different gift this time- ‘a PVR gift card ’. The following weekend we decided to use the PVR gift card. Luckily, a kid’s movie Reo was being shown. I was a little anxious that like our previous experience of “Rang De Basanti” we might have to leave the movie mid-way again this time. But I can’t help smiling at what actually happened. My kid not only sat through the entire movie but was also bursting into laughter every now and then. He enjoyed the popcorn though cold drinks are a still no-no with him. All in all, more than the movie I enjoyed watching my kid’s expressions throughout the movie. Later, we played games at the games corner in Forum and had a quick bite at the Transit. Must say, it was a weekend delight and this time no preparation required from my end. So I could just sit back and enjoy. And yeah, through this gift card, many more avenues of watching movies together have opened up. All thanks to ‘The PVR gift card’ and to my friend Pooja for thinking of a different gifting idea. Now gift cards are also my favorite gifting option and I select the type of gift card depending upon the age of the receiver and the occasion of gifting. – Megha Misra
I don’t like gifting. It’s too much of an effort. I want to give a gift but I dread the experience and outcomes of picking a gift for someone. I feel like a mouse in maze when I wander around the isles of departmental stores, thinking what can be a good gift for my friend. I feel like a over-sized kid when I am in a toy store because my natural tendencies clash with my common sense on what would be a good gift for my kid nephew. I unconditionally submit to my wife on any occasion of gifting. I let my puppy face and credit card do the damage control. However, I am coming across some innovative and cool gifting concepts off late with things like Gift Cards. Besides giving a lazy gifter like me a rather smart looking way of gifting, the packaging options and giftee-friendly features pack a nice punch. If I am a lazy gifter, there are lazy-giftees too to whom the online gift cards give the necessary cardio-workout with all the clicking of mouse while shopping online. Overall, Gift Cards are making me look good and helping me in gifting when I need it the most. – Sadiq Ahamed
( Written by a Senior Corporate Executive) Gift cards are the single biggest game changer for gifting in my life. I buy them all the time for friends and family. It is unbelievably convenient as an option on account of its easy availability and the way it opens up choice for the recipient. What fun it is to be given a card carrying a certain value, which one can go to the shops with and buy whatever one likes! Books, Music, Toys, Games, DVDs, Clothes, Jeans, Footwear, home improvement stuff, gadgets, kitchen stuff and so on. I use gift cards for all sorts of occasions including weddings, engagements, birthdays, anniversaries and just regular “feel good” gifting occasions too! It’s also great to have the option to load the gift cards according to the budget one has for any particular occasion and intended recipient! Believe me, it’s a lot of fun to see the myriad options available on packaging – nice innovative, attractive, colorful, sometimes even quirky packs depending on whom you want to gift to as well as the occasion! And the best thing is that one doesn’t even have to leave one’s comfy armchair to buy – simply let your fingers do the walking (via the internet) and buy gift cards for any occasion that is important to you! Can’t be a better way of having fun while gifting! – Shankar Balan