The article charts the growth and development of the personal gifting industry in IndiaAmrita Mittal
The beginning of personal gifting can be traced back to the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1980s greeting cards became popular. The trend was introduced to the market by Archie’s. Earlier Greeting cards had been limited to occasions like Diwali or Christmas and New Years. But now greeting cards became popular for non occasions as well. There was a card to tell someone you liked them. You could also buy a card to say thank you or sorry. And of course beautiful and elaborate cards for birthdays and anniversaries.
With liberalisation in the 1990s, more ideas from the west started gaining prominence. Greeting card and other gifting companies started building a hype around events like Valentine’s Day or Friendship Day. And the modern Indian youth embraced the concept whole heartedly! The 90s also marked a slight shift in the value system. Earlier spending money on gifts or cards might have been considered wasteful. But with rising incomes and so many enticing options available in the market personal gifting became something of a trend.
The 1990s also saw a lot of gift options being marketed to the youth. Not just greeting cards there were chocolates and flowers too and a hundred other options. Ferns & Petals launched the concept of flower delivery in the 1990s and it became popular instantly.“With the western concepts gaining acceptance, today's younger generation are permitted to be more expressive,” says Dr Emma Gonsalvez, a Chennai-based psychologist explains in the Hindu. “This generation has more money to spend compared to the previous ones.” Dr Gonsalvez stresses, “Also, westernisation has brought about a great willingness to express feelings more openly, chiefly through cards.”
With the coming of the internet the market for personal gifting became even bigger. You could now get flowers, cakes, chocolates delivered in most cities in India. And there were so many new occasions to celebrate! Apart from Birthdays and Anniversaries, there was Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Women’s Day, Friendship Day, Rose Day and many many others. Each occasion has a special range of gifts! The internet also brought about a huge change in celebrating even traditional festivals.
Rakshabandhan is a traditional Indian festival which has been celebrated for hundreds of years. But usually sister’s visited their brother’s home and tied a rakhi. If you lived in a different city all you could do was send a rakhi in the mail. But today there are so many options. You can place an order online and send a rakhi with a gift of your choice to anywhere in India. Gifting companies have also given a huge boost to occasions like Mother’s Day and Father’s day which were not traditionally celebrated in India but have now become very popular.
The next big thing to hit the gifting industry was personalization. This was to put a spin on every gift available in the market. As far as gifts are concerned buyers are always looking for something new and unique and personalization was the answer to that.
Why buy a simple mug when you can buy a mug with your photo printed on it? In fact there is no end to the creative and innovative options available in personalized gifts. Personalized drink ware – Coffee mugs, wine glasses or shot glasses are very popular and you can customize them with pictures, names or your own unique message. Vista Print offers the option to personalize clothing like T shirts or caps.
If you are looking for something off beat, Dezains, an online store make a unique caricature of your picture and then make it a gift as a fridge magnet.