COMMENTARY | Reuters reports that social gifting has become the newest trend in gift giving recently, partially because of the amount of people on social networking websites like Facebook. Social gifting is basically when a person or group of people decides to purchase an electronic gift certificate for someone, and it is emailed to him or her at the specified time or date. Facebook has become the biggest website known for social gifting, and it has really created a new market for retail stores across the country. As an avid tech enthusiast and moderate social network user, here is why I believe social gifting is here to stay, and will really boost the economy.
Only $1 billion out of the $100 billion gift card industry was due to social gifting in 2011, but this is a strong start for such a new type of commerce. There are a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter, which can help retail stores get the word out about their gift cards and special offers that might be going on. The economy is going to get a boost from social gifting, especially given that this type of commerce really targets the younger generations. Buying gifts is a hassle and often a headache, since it is so hard to know what people want or already have. I have started just buying gift cards for my friends and family to stores I know they will go to, because it just takes the pressure off of me. It is going to be more convenient to buy gift cards for people, since it can be done with just the click of a button on a social networking website, and this is going to encourage more young people to spend money.
Brick-and-mortar stores have to find a way to get people into their stores and buy their products; so naturally, the Internet is the best way to get that done. If someone purchases a gift card for Starbucks for their friend, then their friend will be more inclined to go to the store and purchase items, sometimes even spending more than the amount on the gift card. Even if people still do not actually go to the store, they will be spending money through the online retail store, and it does create a bigger interest in the products among consumers.
I know that I am so busy that I do not have time to go out to retail stores very often, so I do rely on gift cards to places like Amazon to get my shopping done without leaving my house. Although I am more of a Twitter user than a Facebook user, I really do think that social gifting is here to stay, because the Internet is the new face of the retail market. Retail stores are going to have to adapt to online consumers in order to be successful, and I think more retail stores are going to participate in this e-commerce trend as the year moves forward.