More than half of Brits will give some sort of virtual gift this Christmas, as they look to take a different approach to their festive shopping.
Vouchers, gift cards, subscriptions, memberships and downloads were common gift ideas being considered by 53% of Brits, a survey from Gocompare.com revealed.
In the survey, 37% of people intending to give virtual gifts this Christmas were planning to do so as they felt it was more thoughtful that giving cash. Another 32% chose this option because they felt it was a truly great gift while 30% opt for virtual gifts as it makes their festive shopping easier.
Of those who receive virtual gifts, 54% said they thought it was a good Christmas present while a third of people said it was exactly what they wanted as it gave them freedom to spend.
Only one in ten people felt it was an impersonal approach and said they preferred to receive physical gifts – even though this approach can result in people having items to return.
What people opt for
Retailer gift cards topped the list of virtual gifts with 32% of people saying they were considering giving them this Christmas. Leading retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Amazon, HMV and WHSmiths all have gift card schemes, as do many other stores.
Book vouchers were the next most popular choice in 12% of cases while 9% of people planned to give a restaurant or hotel voucher. A subscription to a magazine or newspaper was also a popular choice from 7% of people with a wide range of publications appealing to virtually every hobby and subject.
Garden vouchers, music downloads and cinema gift cards also made the list for 6% of respondents as did experience days such as a driving day, spa day or hot air balloon flight.
Charity gifts, memberships for theatres and museums, and mobile phone top-ups were also popular gifts to send at Christmas.
Plenty of options to pick from
Many streaming and download sites usually put on offers over the festive period, offering a range of media for those with gift cards.
Prepaid gift cards could be another option should someone want to send a virtual gift but not necessarily limit it to any particular store. Some of these cards apply only to specific traders while others can be used in a way similar to a debit or credit card – providing a payment option for goods in many different retailers.
In instances where people are short of inspiration for what to get someone for Christmas, it provides a perfect opportunity to ensure they don’t receive a gift they will dislike.