A host of companies like PepsiCo, MakeMyTrip, Livspace and Dunzo, among others, are focusing on sustainability and environment-friendly gifting this year. With a large section of employees still in remote and hybrid working mode, experiential and utility-driven gifts have also picked up steam, executives at gifting companies like Ferns N Petals, IGP.com and Xoxoday told ET.
“We are seeing a shift towards sustainable gifting with increased demand for premium flowers and plants,” said Tarun Joshi, CEO and founder, IGP.com.
Until the last two years, popular gifts included health hampers and gifts in the home & living categories, Joshi said. IGP.com, which is the India partner of Interflora.in, one of the largest florist networks in the world, is focused on a wide range of categories, including home, food, flowers, fashion, and festival products. It saw 100% growth in gift orders compared to the previous year.
This year, PepsiCo India has partnered with a sustainable NGO – Mitti Cafe – for hand crafted, eco-friendly hampers. This NGO provides livelihoods for underprivileged people with disabilities. “The ecosystem we operate in matters to us and hence we chose to make this Diwali special not just for our employees, but also for communities at large,” said Pavitra Singh, CHRO, PepsiCo India.
Gautam Saraf, HR head at Ferns N Petals, concurs.
Cos Turn to Personalised Gifts
“More and more companies are switching to more sustainable and eco-friendly utility products that can be used by the entire family… a huge shift from dry fruits, plants, chocolates, etc. in the last few years,” he said. MakeMyTrip is gifting savouries and sweets hampers of 100% natural products with no added preservatives or additives packed in recyclable plastic. “The selected savouries are sourced, processed, and branded directly at the farms to enable increased share for marginal farmers in the value chain,” Yuvaraj Srivastava, group CHRO, MakeMyTrip said.
Home interior and renovation company Livspace is gifting close to 10,000 of its workforce and partners a customised box with locally sourced and produced home decor items, succulents with planters, snacks/savouries, custom designed coasters, artisanal chocolates. “All of this in our specially curated and designed reusable box,” said Joyita Poddar, CHRO, Livspace.
There is a reusability aspect to each element, as well as a pro-local business approach, Poddar said.
Besides the sustainable gifts, companies are also giving experiential gifts like travel or stay at a hotel to employees, especially as the pandemic subsides, said executives at gifting companies like IGP, Ferns N Petals, Wrapping Happiness and Xoxoday. With most employees working in hybrid mode, companies are trying to connect by giving more personalised and utility gifts, they said. “In addition, the rise of remote and hybrid work is making companies find ways to better appreciate and engage with their employees, and they have honed in on gifts as the best way to do that,” said Joshi.
But many enquiries have been on gifting virtual digital assets, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). However, the taxation part has kept many cautious, said an official of an NFT fintech startup.
Overall corporate gifting is evolving. Corporate customers are asking for utility items like headphones, mousepad, stationery and branded electronic merchandise, and even gifts as part of joining, pre-joining /on-boarding bouquets, said Saraf of Ferns N Petals.
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