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Sure, the holidays are a time for food, family, and presents, but there’s another activity that’s just as engrained with this time of year: spending money. According to Investopedia, the amount of money spent during the holidays has risen every year since 2008, and shows no signs of slowing down. A 2018 Gallup poll found that the average American planned to spend $885 on holiday gifts that year, and the National Retail Federation has forecasted an increase in holiday sales for 2019, estimating that consumers will spend an average of $1,048.
Predictably, online shopping has exploded in popularity as a convenient way to find and purchase gifts—Investopedia notes that in 2017, online and mail-order spending during the holidays totaled $122.1 billion, and CNBC reports that over 53% of holiday purchases will be done online.
As technology continues to advance, so do the ways items can be bought and sold online. Mobile shopping is on the rise, with Salesforce noting that 67% of shoppers plan to use online marketplaces for their 2019 holiday gifting, and that mobile devices drove more site visits and social traffic than desktop computers this year. Digital gifting, where people can send customizable items to their loved ones with the help of platforms like SmartGift, can be seamlessly accessed on desktop or mobile.
Using SmartGift is as easy as scrolling through your phone. Simply look through offerings from affiliated retailers like Express, Tumi, and Kendra Scott, and click “send as a gift.” You can then send a personalized digital gift via email, text, or your favorite messaging app.
Uniquely, a SmartGift doesn’t get paid for in advance, but rather, when it is opened and optionally customized to a certain color, size, or style. Most SmartGifts are opened and paid for fairly quickly after they’re initially sent, but even if your recipient waits a month or even a year to open their digital gift, it will still be valid. SmartGift’s customization ensures that the recipient can feel confident their gift is exactly what they want.
For people looking to spread their payments out further without adding to their credit card statement, there are now a variety of services that allow you to pay for a specific item in installments over time. For example, Afterpay and Klarna enables shoppers to pay in four interest-free chunks over the course of a month, and Affirm provides loans that are paid back monthly for up to a year. Even PayPal now offers their own credit program.
Though all gifts do eventually have to be paid for, there are plenty of ways nowadays to make this process less overwhelming, so you can enjoy the community and cheer that the holiday season brings.