The gift industry has evolved significantly in the past few years. Online gift portals have become popular in India. Consumers are increasingly taking to the concept of finding a variety of options on one platform, buying it within minutes and getting it delivered to the desired address. This is more popular in the metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.
The economic development of the country, rise in income levels resulting in improved standards of living, and the exposure to international brands and trends have given the online gift industry a boost. The online gift market in
India is expanding for the customised and corporate sections. Gift cards and vouchers are also gaining popularity. The rising trend of personalised gifts has augmented the online gift industry. People buy gifts online and personalise any product by writing a message, quotes etc. Personal gifting has been encouraged with the number of gifting occasions increasing. India has also witnessed a rise in corporate gifting culture. Consumers want to buy gifts from online stores, which are unique, stylish, personalized, and in tune with their preferences.
The gifting market in India was pegged at $30 billion of which $400 million could be attributed to the digital space. When segregated into three categories, the share of festival gifting stands at $7.5 billion, personal gifting accounts for $20 billion and corporate gifting is at $2.5 billion. According to Technopak, one of India’s leading management consultants, the total size of Indian corporate and personal gifting market put together in 2017 is about `250,000 crore. Of this, corporate gifting market in India is estimated to be `12,000 crore and is growing at over 200% per annum.
Mridula Bhatia, an IT professional from Bengaluru, said, “It is very convenient for me to buy a gift online as I don’t have to go to different shops to search for a desired product. Surfing for products online saves me a lot of time and I can also have the gift delivered on the said day.”
With the rise in online gifting trend, there has also been a rise in online gift portals. Wishtry, a unique online gifting registry, provides users the ability to create one’s personalized registry for gift-giving occasions. It allows the user to browse through different websites, select the gifts they want and add it to their Wishtry list. One can create a wish list with handpicked items from varied online stores and share it with their family and friends. Along with offering registry services to individuals, organizations can use Wishtry as a valuable fundraising tool.
Shailie Parekh, Co-Founder & Vice President, Wishtry, spoke to BE about the growth of online gifting industry and the challenges in the sector.
Q. What opportunity do you anticipate in the online gifting space in India?
A. According to us, it’s a very important concept for the Indian market. This trend is gaining popularity and the e-commerce space is changing. Now everything is available online ranging from home décor items to pets. With more conscious customers, the demand for gift registries has shot up sharply. The response to our service has been good till now and we aim at sustaining the momentum.
Q. Is the new generation more inclined towards the online gift industry?
A. Indian consumers are well-heeled and well-travelled and are continuously on the lookout for something more. They want value for their money and appreciate getting what they want. Till date, we have received a lot of positive responses, especially from the youth. A section of young Indian consumers are technologically updated and look forward to achieving services that are convenient and economical. Additionally, a rise in their income levels has paved the way for new entrants like us.
Q. Which segment do you think is more popular when it comes to online gifts?
A. Times have changed and so have gifts and gifting styles. Gone are the days when only birthdays, anniversaries, and festivals were the occasions which guaranteed gift purchases. Now there are so many occasions that we celebrate. However, weddings remain the most popular in terms of gifting.
Q. How has been the traction so far on the site?
A. Since our launch in October last year, we have received a lot of positive responses from our target audiences. Working professionals within the age group of 25 – 35 years, who are tech savvy, upwardly mobile, discerning, and usually on a time crunch due to their busy schedules are some of the key characteristics of our target audience. They are welcoming the concept due to its efficiency quotient.
Q. What are the challenges in this industry and where do you see yourself in future?
A. The online gift registry, like any other industry, has certain challenges and cultural biases attached to it. First, we need to change the Indian mindset of it being inappropriate to ask for gifts. It is essential for us to have a more modern approach to gifting. Furthermore, the concept of gift registry is new to India and would take some time before it is well established.
In future, we would love Wishtry to be used as a reference point for the celebration or planning of any event. Keeping this in mind one of our biggest plans in the pipeline is to have our own bar code scanners, where a consumer can go to a store and scan the bar code of any item and it will automatically be added to Wishtry. We also want to tie-up with small stores and websites who want us to promote their products.