Gifting for birthdays, religious holidays, and gifts to celebrate special occasions is a tradition that pre-dates technology altogether. But new technological breakthroughs and the evolution of the digital economy are finally making it possible to send gifts to every corner of the globe: but what does this mean for the future of gifting?
The United Arab Emirates has seen a rise in cross-border gifting – with 140 countries actively sending gifts to the UAE. The UK, USA, Saudi Arabia and India sit atop the ‘gifting’ charts as the countries that gift the most to residents in the UAE.
New findings from MENA-based digital gift card marketplace YOUGotaGift reveals growing interconnectivity and cross-cultural ties. These trends are driving growth in cross-border gifting.
Gift cards have grown in popularity as a way to thank friends, family and colleagues, while Christmas emerged as the most popular season for gifting in the UAE, reflecting the region’s cultural diversity. The most popular kind of cross-border gifts sent to the UAE include hypermarkets, online stores, malls, and games.
Husain Makiya, co-founder and CEO at YOUGotaGift, discussed the evolution of gifting: “Digital gift cards have seamlessly found its place in the dynamically-evolving interconnected world. In today’s globalised world, people are increasingly dispersed and working remotely. This means that traditional gifting methods, such as sending physical gift cards in the mail, are no longer as practical or reliable.
“Digital gift cards, on the other hand, are a perfect solution for modern gifting. They can be sent instantly to recipients anywhere in the world, and they never have to worry about them getting lost or damaged in the mail.
“In addition to being more convenient, digital gift cards are also more sustainable. They eliminate the need for paper and plastic, and they can be redeemed online or in-store, as per consumers’ preference.”
Digital gift cards across the globe
Digital gift cards are also continuing to take hold across the rest of the world. Global payments provider Blackhawk Network also recently expanded its relationship with European payments company Recharge.com to distribute gift cards digitally through Blackhawk’s network in the US and Canada.
Steve Dekker, managing director in the Americas for Blackhawk Network, discussed how the announcement boosts digital gift card options for consumers in North America: “Gift and prepaid cards have become staples in the lives of consumers around the world, connecting shoppers with their favourite brands and allowing them to celebrate meaningful occasions with those they care about.
“In an increasingly globalised world, enabling cross-border gifting and money movement is more important than ever. Additionally, preference for egifts and purchasing online is on the rise. Based on consumer research and our own sales data, there was double-digit growth in egift and e-commerce sales of gift cards in the most recent holiday season.”