Digital ‘Eidiya’ on the rise in Middle East and North Africa

Practice blends heritage with innovation

By Husain Makiya

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Published: Mon 8 Apr 2024, 3:43 PM

In the culturally rich landscape of the Middle East, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan, the tradition of Eidiya is experiencing a wider digital acceptance. As the region embraces the convenience and innovation of digital gift cards (or eGift Cards), this evolution reflects a broader trend towards technological integration in all facets of life, reshaping the traditional acts of giving and generosity into a form that aligns with the digital age.

The adoption of eGift Cards for Ramadan and Eid gifting is gathering momentum, combining the age-old custom of Eidiya with the modern need for convenience, flexibility, and personalization. These digital alternatives to traditional cash gifts are not just a nod to the growing digital savviness of the younger generations; they are a testament to the region’s rapid digital transformation. The capability to instantly deliver these digital Gift Cards via email, SMS, or WhatsApp caters to the instant gratification sought by today’s digitally-driven consumers, providing a seamless solution that offers unparalleled choice and freedom to recipients. They can select gifts from a wide range of brands and experiences, ensuring that the essence of the gift is meaningful, practical, and, more importantly, convenient.

As the region witnesses a cultural shift towards digitalization, integrating eGift Cards into Ramadan signifies more than technological advancement; it symbolizes the harmonious blending of heritage and innovation. This transition offers a glimpse into the future of gifting and rewards, where digital solutions like eGift Cards become the standard, driven by their unmatched convenience, customization capabilities, and their role in fostering a more inclusive and considerate approach to giving.

The market’s response to this digital shift is overwhelmingly positive; as illustrated by our experience, we have witnessed a 100% increase in Ramadan and Eidiya eGift Card purchases year-over-year since 2022. This growth trajectory indicates a broader consumer trend toward digital solutions offering convenience and a personalized touch. As businesses and consumers alike recognize the benefits of eGift Cards—from their instant delivery and wide choice to being securely stored in a digital wallet—their adoption is set to continue its upward trend.

Husain Makiya, CEO, YOUGotaGift
Husain Makiya, CEO, YOUGotaGift

From a business perspective, the strategic value of eGift Cards cannot be ignored. Amidst the digital boom, these cards serve as a versatile tool for companies looking to enhance employee and customer engagement, drive sales, and bolster brand loyalty during the Ramadan and Eid period.

Recent surveys underscore the gap between the desire for flexible rewards like gift cards, which stood at 41%, and the mere 15% of employees who received them as rewards. This gap highlights a significant opportunity for businesses to align their reward systems with modern preferences, utilizing eGift Cards as a dynamic component of their incentive programs. Unlike traditional rewards, which often lack personal relevance, eGift Cards allow recipients to choose what truly resonates with them, enhancing the perceived value and satisfaction derived from these digital gestures of appreciation.

Moreover, the utility of eGift Cards extends beyond corporate incentives and personal gifting. The digital nature of these cards introduces a novel approach to charitable giving, particularly relevant during Ramadan, a time characterized by heightened philanthropic activity. For charitable organizations, eGift Card payouts streamline the process of donating to underprivileged families and individuals, allowing them to purchase essential goods and services tailored to their specific needs. This method of giving ensures efficiency and respects recipients’ dignity by offering them autonomy in their choices, a critical aspect often overlooked in traditional donation models. Instead of the traditional gifts, families and friends can pay their Eidiya with eGift Cards, bringing the digital experience to their loved ones.

Retailers, too, are finding value in embracing eGift Cards, particularly during the peak shopping periods of Ramadan and Eid. The adoption of digital cards opens new avenues for brand visibility and customer acquisition, as recipients are often introduced to brands they might not have considered otherwise. Additionally, eGift Cards address many logistical challenges associated with physical gifting, such as shipping costs and inventory management, offering a sustainable alternative that aligns with the growing environmental consciousness among consumers.

The rise of digital Eidiya symbolizes the broader digital transformation sweeping across the Middle East. As businesses, consumers, and charitable organizations adopt eGift Cards, they are embracing a more modern and efficient way of gifting and contributing to the evolution of traditional practices. This shift underscores the region’s capacity for innovation, blending centuries-old traditions with the possibilities afforded by digital technology.

As we move forward, the continued momentum of digital gift cards promises to redefine the landscape of gifting and generosity, making every act of giving a testament to the dynamic interplay between tradition and technology.

The writer is the CEO of YOUGotaGift.

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