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The Art of Gifting Online

December 30, 2020

Birthdays and anniversaries do not like me too much! I find them to be a scam (other than mine, of course; especially the ones where I am getting the gifts). I am that guy who is always trying to look up for a gift at the last moment, something that works my appetite and fits my budget. But the pen which writes my luck smoothly seems to be permanently missing. Missing the bus is a regular aspect of my life; however, thanks to the Internet of Online Gods, for they are still delivering flowers and cakes at 3 AM (while my partner thinks it has been preplanned 3 months ago for my 3rd anniversary). Just what I need right now!

So why has online gifting rocked the charts? Do you also forget birthdays? What is this new-age show of love?

The norms and laws of gifting vary from place to place, culture to culture and person to person. For eg: From purely my experience, gifting a good bottle of wine or a bunch of high-end scented candles might be the norm in the west but the same gifts in India might be looked down upon. Here you will only become your recipient's favorite 'Aunty' and the bottle of wine will be replaced with a 'liffafa' filled with money. You might end up going to the liquor shop and buy the bottle yourself with that money. We love to be proactive! I haven't understood all sorts of cultures but I am trying to decode the art of gifting in my way.

According to an article posted by Indianretailer.com on January 7th, 2019, “The gifting industry in India has witnessed massive growth over the past decade due to rising income levels and aspirations. The global gifting market is estimated to be USD 475 billion, and India is expected to emerge as one of the strongest contributors by 2024. A recent research report by Qwikcilver revealed that the country is set to touch USD 84 billion by 2024 from USD 65 million at present.” A lot of other sites and economic coverage voice the same opinion. That got me thinking, what went right?

I took a survey where almost 100 people participated which, believe me, was super interesting. Some of of the key takeaways were:

  • Millennials would look for online gifting options if the occasion is not so serious - Thought so!
  • The delicious (and curse-worthy) Gordon Ramsay's recipe for long-distance relationships - Surviving right!
  • Nobody is interested in buying online gifts for marriages - Of course!
  • The stereotypical gifts are here to stay. Gifting money is the king.
  • Thoughtful gifts reign - Knew it!
  • Out of the 100 odd respondents, only one person said that she would rather want the person giving the gift rather than the gift itself.- And are we lonely?
  • Online gifting options are the hot favorite when gifting (or having to gift something) to their romantic partners.- Guilty of online love! Me too!
  • Amazongifting service is catching up real fast.- The river is unending
  • Gift cards by various fashion retailers like H&M, Zara, Amazon, Apple, etc. are a popular choice. This is the exact combination of restriction and freedom.- Just the right amount of salt!

An article in the businessworld.insays, “Corporate gifting enjoys the lion's share of the market, accounting to 80%, with consumer gifting contributing to 20%... The gifting market in India is estimated at $30 billion in the next 4-5 years of which $400 million would be attributed to the digital space.” This 20% should be backed up by AI and acute data analysis to create a place of warmth, happiness, comfort and connection for buyers who are planning to explore the world of online gifts.

Here are some of the reasons I have come up with, as to why online gifting is gaining popularity (and some of the hits and misses of online gifting):

  • It is for the 'Young, Dumb and Broke'

No, we do not understand physical conversation and yes, we love to spend - on the wrong things! We millennials might be doing ok, but with an increase in earning power, the spending power goes up too. Online gifting gives you the perfect place to hide and give gifts. I can be sitting in a different city and still send a cake and flowers to my partner sleeping 1500 miles away from me. Sounds delicious, right?

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

  • Oh, I love to hide...

How else will you be able to send that one strand of rose to your ex on Valentine's day? I might order my dinner online to celebrate her as well!

Online gifting sites give you multiple gifting options and allow you to conceal your identity. You do not even need to write your proper name, address, or give your telephone number while booking. As long as the payment is successful, all sins are forgiven.

  • Flowers and cake? Oh! So west.

This whole concept has been taken from the ideologies of Hollywood movies and dramas. So there is this smell of gelling with the global trend here. Having said that flowers have global acceptance and cake well, who does not like some (un)healthy creams in their dreams.

  • Muscle movement? Naah!

I can lie down and order a flower for my love to be delivered exactly as she enters her tuition classes. Classic right?

These portals take the word 'convenience' to a whole new different level. You can choose from a wide variety of products, occasions and customize it too.

Jokes aside, these online gifting websites help children living away from home or even abroad to be able to send gifts to their parents / loved ones. Gifts and somebody's hard work, bridge gaps and bring people closer; at least virtually- contradictory and comforting too!

  • Thank God it is already customized

This is a complete winner. The moment I go to a gifting site I have gifts according to my pocket and according to the occasion. Gender-specific and relationship-specific gifts along with pre-made bundles make our lives easy. These brands have mastered the understanding of their customers, their age, location and their needs. They know exactly who will buy and who won't. Even when somebody older buys a gift online, they are likely to take help or consult a younger person. Thus the customer need in the market segment is imperative and can only be improved to new and emerging needs and demands of the customer.

  • Is it our 31st month anniversary today? Do I remember? Of course! The gift is reaching you in 2 hours.

Shop now and get it delivered in 3 hours! This feature is also a winner, as it helps me send gifts to people I know but they aren’t necessarily in my closest of circles viz. work friends, friends of friends etc. This is the only option you have when you realize it is your third-best friend's birthday at 3 PM on the day of his birthday. 

  • What's in a picture?

The cake looks nice and big, is it only just one pound? Will it come with my poem written on it? Turns out it can.

Most of the online gifting websites are very careful not to let their quality fall. We all know that even 1 bad review can severely affect their credibility. The products try to live up to expectations always and they do take feedbacks like an angry customer seriously.

  • Add 1 rupee and we will add a bar of chocolate!

Add-ons are important and popular here. It allows you to take an uninformed decision. Gifting is a lot about casual searches on the internet. Very few people would come with a fixed set of gifts in mind. So handing out a platter of options in front of them would do you good.

  • 50% off for the next love of your life

Sometimes the offers these sites give you make no sense to me. Buy a cake and get a chocolate free on your next order. No, my next secret partner hates chocolate. Sorry!

  • I am the pickup guy who gets to write, 'Sweety loves Rahul' 500 times a day. I am single though.

I feel bad for the delivery guys working with such erratic customer demands and at such erratic hours. They even deliver surprises. The recipient might be a criminal or murderer or dead but they would still have to gift him flowers in the middle of the night.

As a designer, I feel that this area has a huge scope of exploration and with the help of innovative visual perception, online gifting can become a raving product service segment in the future. With better and much more advanced customer experience, this can replace the typical gifts we end up giving. I feel that online gifting deliveries should penetrate beyond just tier 1 and tier 2 cities. We might live in a metropolitan city but some of our friends and families still hail from semi-urban India.

Photo by Vojtech Okenka from Pexels; Editing by me.


  1. Chawla, Himanshu. “Growth of Online Gifting in India with Customised Options.” YourStory.com, 28 Aug. 2019, yourstory.com/2019/08/online-gifting-india-customised.
  2. Srivastava, Shipra, et al. How Indian Gifting Industry Is Shaping up? www.indianretailer.com/article/whats-hot/trends/How-Indian-gifting-industry-is-shaping-up.a6271/.
  3. Chhabra, Sumit. “How Online Gifting Marketplace Will Transform In Next 5 Years.” BW Businessworld, BW Businessworld, www.businessworld.in/article/How-Online-Gifting-Marketplace-Will-Transform-In-Next-5-Years/08-02-2019-166934/.
  4. “Info About Us.” Ferns N Petals, www.fnp.com/info/about-us.
  5. “Siliconindia.” Emerging Trends In Online Gifting Industry In India, startup.siliconindia.com/startup_talks/emerging-trends-in-online-gifting-industry-in-india-nwid-20453.html.

Abhrojit Boral, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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