Ecommerce online giftingETtech

Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

With people largely staying at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, e-commerce firms are ramping up their selection and revamping policies to cater to online gifting, a segment that is expected to spike during the festive season.

In fact, online has become the platform of choice for customers amid the virus outbreak as buyers prioritize safety over visiting crowded places.

According to a survey conducted by location-based social app, Public, on about 500,000 users, 50% of the respondents said they would prefer to shop online since that can be done from homes at their convenience.

Top executives at Amazon, Flipkart, Ferns N Petals, Qwikcilver, as well as brands such as TeaBox, Wow Skin Sciences and others told ET that they expect online gifting by consumers and businesses to pick up in the last quarter of the calendar year.

Qwikcilver said its consumer gifting platform, Woohoo, has clocked 60% growth in transactions month-on-month since July.

The company is projecting the buoyancy to reflect in the issuance of 200 million gift cards during the upcoming 10-week festive season up to November end, said Pratap TP, the cofounder of Qwikcilver, an online gift card platform that manages over 1.1 billion transactions annually.

“People are looking for an occasion to celebrate, to rebuild the emotional connect with friends and family, whom they cannot physically meet and spend time with…,” said Kausshal Dugarr, founder of premium tea brand Teabox, which is focusing on curating gifts this year to infuse an emotional connect between gift-giver and recipient.

Online marketplaces including Amazon and Flipkart, which saw early signs of consumer appetite for gifting during Raksha Bandhan earlier in the year, expect the momentum to continue into the holiday season.

“We believe that gifting will take on a different importance this festive season from Durga Puja and Navratri to Dhanteras and Diwali,” said Manish Tiwary, vice president of Amazon.

Mirroring this sentiment, Nishant Gupta, Senior Director, at Flipkart told ET that the etailer has ramped up selection across festive gifting options in various categories. “This includes chocolates, dry fruits, sweets, makeup kits, perfume sets, Diwali lightings and décor portfolio,” Gupta said.

Fashion portal Myntra has also made a concerted effort to make online gifting seamless for its customers, said chief executive Amar Nagaram.

“The reason why fashion was not big in gifting in the past was because of the size complication. What we’re doing as part of the festive offering is that the recipient can exchange something for the right size, so that apprehension is being taken away, both from the person who is gifting and the person who is receiving it. That’s why fashion in gifting is going to take off,” he said.

Flower and gifts retailer Ferns N Petals said demand for contactless deliveries and virtual gifting had picked up in the holiday season.

“As travel has come to a standstill globally, we have seen a 20% increase in orders compared to even domestic markets,” said Vikaas Gutgutia, founder, Ferns N Petals.

According to Gutgutia, while there was a three-times increase in order numbers during Rakhi compared to the previous year, the holiday season will see more corporates and small businesses looking to place orders for their business associates online.

“Yes, people are careful in terms of spending…, so the average order value is coming down, but the number of orders is increasing,” he said.

Qwikcilver also said corporates were taking to e-gifting for employees and partners in order to minimize contact in the wake of the outbreak.

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