Expect more e-gifts this Christmas
Digital subscriptions and mobile data gaining popularity as Christmas gifts
This Christmas, you might not find your presents under a Christmas tree.
It might come in the form of a voucher in your inbox, digital albums, gaming credits or even a bump up in your mobile data.
Last week, Singtel launched its online gift shop for mobile services, offering Christmas shoppers the option of gifting mobile data, digital subscriptions to music-streaming apps under Singtel Music and newspapers such as The New York Times under Singtel Newsstand.
The recipient gets an SMS notifying him or her of the present.
It is the latest digital gifting option to hit our shores.
A Singtel spokesman told The New Paper that the response has been encouraging and it hopes to roll out more of such services in the coming year.
At least two online gift card sellers here said they have seen a bump in sales this festive season.
Two-year-old company Wogi - which allows users to buy and send digital gift cards for brands such as Qoo10, Zalora, HipVan and Lazada - has seen its monthly sales volume shoot up lately.
Convenience is what makes digital vouchers popular, said its business director, Ms May Howe.
"Often, the givers do not know where to begin, where to buy and what to buy. Not only do they need to direct resources and time to procure, store and deliver the gifts, the end result is often an unhappy recipient," she said.
"With digital gifting, people can easily purchase or redeem a gift within a few clicks."
Early adopters at Wogi were tech-savvy youth, she added, but its users now come from all walks of life.
Six-month-old Mooments, which offers digital gift cards to brands such as Best Denki and Naiise, saw sales spike during Hari Raya and the second half of November and December, said strategy manager Srawan Kumar Kamatala.
Singapore shoppers' move to digital gifts shows they "have become more comfortable with the exchange of digital currency", said Mr Nicholas Kontopoulos, global vice-president of fast-growth markets at commerce and omni-channel solutions provider SAP Hybris.
GETTING USED TO IT
This, he said, is because consumers are becoming increasingly used to transacting online, from purchasing on e-commerce sites to mobile banking.
Advertising operations executive Ng Yiwen, 25, said she has given friends both digital gifts, such as credits for online games, and physical presents, depending on the recipients' wants.
Student Ho Si Hui, 20, prefers giving handmade gifts, but wouldn't say no to receiving a digital gift.
"It's the thought that counts," she said.