The Wikipedia explains that in many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, etc. contributes to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics of gifting – giving into the notion of ‘gift economy’. By extension the term gift can refer to anything that makes the receiver happier or less sad, it supports the goodwill, helps forgiveness and portrays kindness of the giver. Gifting is an art as well as a talent. Gifting signifies warmth, love, affection, liking, kindness, forgiveness etc. Gift makes anybody happy. The mankind cherishes giving and receiving gifts. From a child to aged all enjoy giving and taking gifts.
Why and how gifting plays an important role
Gifting is an integral part in commemorating an event or celebration. Events like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries usually necessitate gifts be given to the person concerned. While presence on the event or celebration is more important than the present, giving gifts appropriates the occasion confirming that we are indeed co-celebrating the joyous revelry with the host. More often than not, gifts explain its recipient the deeper emotions of the giver. We give gifts to people not only for the obvious reason that we love them but also for the joy of seeing them excited and delighted.
How big is the gifting market
Books and music are the new phenomenon for gifting. In the words of Mark Twain “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them” According to the National Endowment for Arts (NEA) in USA, less than 50% of adults are reading literature. The decline in reading has been termed as a “national crisis” in USA. This most progressive and developed nation in the world is so concerned about the reading habits of its citizens. The decline in reading is across all strata. From 1982 to 2002 USA has lost 20 million potential readers due to lost interest in reading and this is due to television, the NEA reports. It further states that men are reading less than women. The worst hit reading group is those of younger ages, the loss is 28% among the younger generation. It is really appreciable that this powerful country makes efforts of keeping a check on such a less-concerned factor of life. The rest of the world has to take some lessons because a well-read society has its far flung advantages. One of the best gifts is offering a book.
One news article published in Economic Times, says that even during the recession of 2009 the book-and-gift retailing segment seemed to be the least affected. Leading book retail chains such as Landmark, Crossword and RPG Retail’s ‘Books & Beyond’ suffered a marginal impact on sales. Book retailing is emerging as a recession-proof segment in India. Tata group’s book-and-gift retail venture Landmark operates 25 stores across India and is witnessing a sales growth of 18-20%. Interestingly, most of these book stores have a strong merchandise mix of music, movies, toys and gifts.The lower income groups, middle income groups and higher income groups believe celebrating small and big occasions regularly.
Music’s impact on the society can be seen throughout history. Every known culture on the earth has music. Music seems to be one of the basic actions of humans. However, early music was not handed down from generation to generation or recorded. Hence, there is no official record of “prehistoric” music but instruments like flutes, dholes, sonic rocks are evidence of prehistoric music from the findings of historic researchers.
There are two responses to music. These responses are hard to separate because they are related, and one of these responses cannot exist without the other. These responses are (1) the actual hearing of the music and (2) the physical response to the music. Music stimulates physical movements and is integrally related to the human body. For example, the body contains rhythms in the heartbeat, drinking, eating, and breathing all of these. How can we overlook the ‘lub’ and ‘dub’ of our heartbeats? Heart sounds are the noises generated by the beating heart and the resultant flow of blood through it.
Gifting MP3, DVDs, and Cassettes is in vogue. Young and old all prefer music. Archie’s, Planet M, Rhythm House, Satyam, Landmark in Mumbai are over flooded with customers during festive occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Diwali, Christmas, Eid, and many other festivals. These days corporate have also joined the bandwagon of gifting music and books. The Pharma sector is famous for gifting music albums.
How to master the art of gifting
Buying is such a complex procedure. Let it be any category of product or service; the buying process is difficult because it includes various strictures which are internal as well as external. Today’s consumers are very particular about what they want, when they want and how they want and due to information being poured from various channels consumers are well informed and hence on their guard while shopping. But, when you go to buy a gift for someone, it is all the more difficult to purchase a gift. This is because there are so many intricacies involved while gifting of both of the giver and receiver of the gift; who, why, when, the occasion, price tag, packaging, the psyche the list can be big.
India is a big country with 28 states and 7 Union Territories, over one billion people and 120 dialects/languages. From the market perspective, people of India comprise different segments of consumers, based on class, status, and income. An important and topical development in India’s consumerism is the emergence of electronic media. The cultural diversity of India has paved the way to the celebration of a number of festivals, on most of the festivals gifting one and other is a compulsion. When it comes to gifting, the Indian philosophy believes in generosity of spirit while giving. Gift giving is routine in India, and is seen as a sign of friendship it is also a symbolic way to show appreciation and to develop relationship.
Indian minds clutch their cultural and traditional values so much that it is difficult for marketers to disconnect the consumers from their traditional styles. Perhaps, only in India, one sees traditional products along side of modern products; eg hair oils and tooth powder existing with shampoos and toothpaste, traditional mattresses with modern sofa, traditional dresses with the latest tights and miniskirts. So, traditionally, the scope of gifts has a narrow choice.
Giving is receiving. In the words of Jarod Kintz “The only gift I have to give, is the ability to receive. If giving is a gift, and it surely is, then my gift to you is to allow you to give to me.”