The Indian e-commerce market has been growing significantly over the last decade, a process only accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and a shift to the digital way of life.
Estimates, in fact, place the Indian e-commerce market at a $200 billion value by 2026. Increased internet penetration and smartphone usage have propelled this change, as even customers who were skeptical about buying online earlier have made the switch. In particular, gift-related purchases have gone up during the pandemic time, as people seek new ways to stay connected in the absence of physical gatherings. The online gifting market, in fact, is currently worth about $65 million and is also set to jump to $84 billion by 2024.
Instant Gifting; A Way to Connect Emotionally
Since March 2020, we have realized more than ever the value of human connections and the isolation that distance can bring about. Many of us have dealt with illness and death, and the psychological stress of not being around family has taken a toll on us all, even though we are doing it for everyone’s safety. In this setup, therefore, instant gifts ordered and delivered online are the perfect way to express love for and celebrate occasions with loved ones in other cities or countries.
In most parts of the country, Covid compels people to stay far away from their parents and grandparents to guard against infection, no gift is too much to express love and send good wishes until a physical reunion can happen.
Apart from the traditional Indian festivals, occasions like Mother's/ Father’s Day and wedding anniversaries are popular occasions for gifting among millennial buyers and gen-Z for their families. In addition, romantic relationships have their own causes for celebration, such as the day the couple first met, and special gifts can make all the difference to long-distance couples as well as to those living together and looking for new ways to change things up.
Young people of today have much more disposable income, which makes instant gifting options - even luxurious ones - more affordable on a regular basis. And of course, birthdays and weddings continue to be popular gifting occasions, paired with Zoom celebrations.
The Rise of Unconventional Gifting
While traditional gifting options like flowers and food items remain popular, today’s buyers are increasingly opting for more unique, customized options that reflect the personality of the recipient and the relationship they share.
For instance, a custom plaque with photos and quotes from shared moments can make for a perfect birthday gift for a friend or partner. Many also opt for matching ‘his and hers’ items like T-shirts or pajama sets as a celebration of love. Custom gifts can be ordered online, tailored to one’s taste, and delivered anywhere in India.
Simultaneously, the gift card is acquiring popularity - for those who can’t decide what to give, or when the recipient has very particular tastes, gift cards allow people to buy exactly what they want when they want it.
The global gift card market is set to grow to $690 billion in the next five years, and Indian demand could contribute to as much as 10 percent of that growth.
How Brands are Responding
Brands have recognized the value of instant gifting and are capitalizing on it. Retailers and F&B brands are offering special gifting options, such as hampers and matching sets, as well as exclusive discounts around popular gifting occasions like Diwali or Mother’s Day.
Several gifting brands have also sprung up, focusing on quirky custom gift items to celebrate one’s parents, best friends, or romantic partners. Same-day delivery options are more popular than ever, now that travel plans are prone to last-minute changes. From fresh flowers and cakes to ‘countdown’ gifts delivered over the course of several days, gift shoppers will certainly be spoilt for choices.
The pandemic has brought home to us the value of staying connected, and special gifts are the best way to do that. Be it a birthday or simply an ‘I miss you’ moment, young urban shoppers have a plethora of reasons to pamper their loved ones and multiple options for doing so. We can expect to see more innovation in the gift market, both in terms of new gifting brands and more promotions around giving and receiving - trends that will bring us closer to our loved ones and keep the connection going, no matter where we are physical.