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AgVoice | Cash is old school Gift Cards adoption heats up in India

A friend, who recently got married, received a bunch load of envelopes with cash. A few days later and the envelopes were all in the dust-bin and the cash used up in household expenses with no recollection or appreciation for the cash gift-givers! A colleague at work was busy trying to sell-off three similar home-theater systems he received at this anniversary party.   While yet another friend could not stop raving about her day-out shopping with the birthday gift card sent to her online by her cousins from Bangalore.
 
What was the difference between these three situations? The gift-givers’ intent were similar and honorable. Monies were spent in all three situations. Then why two experiences became mediocre or unpleasant and the last one resulted enthralling?
 
Just like the saying; ‘Love them how they want to be loved, not how you want too’. Contemporary culture of gifting is evolving on similar lines. Nowadays, gifting is more and more about allowing the recipient to choose what they want.  It is about giving choice, experiences and wrapping it up with some personalization. Cash in an envelope is being considered boring and impersonal; Box items and bouquets are too bulky to carry for both the giver and receiver; and recycled gifts are easily spotted and result in embarrassment.
 
It’s already caught steam! with over INR 2,000 crores annually spent on gift cards and vouchers in India as per a recent research by Global Prepaid Exchange. This is expected to grow aggressively at 30% - 40% year over year. Uptake of e-Commerce and e-retailers has played catalyst. We had a consumer recently write to us about his seamless experience ordering a gift card at our portal www.ItzGift.in , a last minute spa gift for his fiancée while he travelling out of town on work. Additionally, NRIs and Indians abroad are used to the concept of gift cards in their resident countries and find it increasingly comfortable ordering the same for their family & friends back in India. In addition to our multi-brand Choice Gift Card, we offer an array of gift cards of over 75 leading brands providing unique options for all different occasions. In the last couple months alone various leading Indian retail brands launched a gift cards, like Shopper Stop gift card, InOrbit Mall card, PVR cinemas gift card, Café Coffee Day ‘café moments card’ and Pizza Hut gift card. These have been long awaited and to finally see the brands launch them is a clear reflect of consumer demand and momentum for these gift cards.
 
Ideal demographics & psychographics! With 65% of Indians in the mean gift giving & receiving age group of 15 – 64 years. The facebook generation, the tweeting youth is demanding these innovative and savvier gifting options. More Indians are actively online today – 13.5 crores Internet users, of  which over 25 lakh Indian consumers have transacted online in 2011. As per a recent Ipsos study on Indian Internet users, a majority are manage their finances online (57%), another majority are shopping online (50%). This is a progressive audience on the move, who are comfortable doing there important activities of banking & shopping online and also want to find solutions for their gift buying requirements. They are looking for unique experiences, choices and new ways of gifting. Along with being early adopters they are used to the good things in life, are well-traveled or well-read and exposed to the cultures and offerings of the world at large. This well informed Indian consumer is aware of the new offerings in the international markets like virtual cards, e-gift codes, mobile gifting and is already showing an interest to having these here in India. With all this constant and rapid innovation we are confident India is going to witness a stepper digitization curve.
 
Ultimately, let me end on an optimistic & humorous note by saying that, we have over One Billion birthdays in India making it a billion gifting occasions. What better a market potential statistic required! | By Bhavik Vasa, General Manager, ItzCash
 
About the Writer:
Bhavik Vasa has many years of global experience in Business Innovation across ePayments, Gift & Prepaid. Currently leading charge as General Manager at ItzCash Card Ltd., Bhavik has been evangelizing the adoption of Gift Cards & Prepaid in India along with Global Prepaid Exchange.
 
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not reflect in any way of Adgully.
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