Joy of gifts and gift cards

By Wajiha Imtiaz
Fri, 02, 22

Coming across as a treat to sight, even vanity boxes displayed at malls can get one caught up in a buying spree....

Joy of gifts and gift cards


As festivities get in swing with approaching spring, efforts to notch up “gift culture” are in the air along with pollen. The stores, eateries and clothing brands in market are already buzzing with adverts offering special deals and customized gift boxes. The usual idea of gifts is ‘valuable items, meticulously packed in beautiful wrappings, decorated with ribbons’ presented occasionally to one’s object of affection. Coming across as a treat to sight, even vanity boxes displayed at malls can get one caught up in a buying spree.

I am concerned that regular, mundane and routine items have just stopped giving us the ‘gift high’. We find it difficult to accept that a gift can be anything other than exquisite jewels, costly accessories, flamboyant apparels or fragrances. Do we see socks, mittens, baking trays, utensils, takeaway meals, regular coffee, books and prepaid phone cards as gifts anymore? The latter does not sound as exciting as the former options. But what if we adopt a different marketing strategy that promotes the gift appeal of utilities such as groceries, laundry services, spa treatments and car fuel may be? A gift item does not always have to be a precious and costly commodity; it can be sustainable, recyclable and yet modern.

In my quest of ideas to revolutionise ‘gift culture’ as in reclining more towards the regular, helpful, day-to-day usage items, I looked up the variety of gift cards available in Pakistan. To my amazement we have a limited gift card range, that too only for targeted consumers. Gift cards are money loaded vouchers, digital or material, specific or general, for shopping at depots, cafes and outlets. Physical gift cards can be directly used in stores or for making online purchases while digital gift cards are limited to online or phone usage.

Joy of gifts and gift cards

Since modern problems require modern solutions, developed countries have promoted gift cards in community as an intermediary to e-cash and tangible gifts. Some popular gift cards in UK include Asda, Amazon, Primark, Starbucks and JD sports gift cards, where Asda and Primark are local shopping stores with subsidized prices. Walmart, Target and Hand Cleaning gift cards are the ones liked in US. China has specialised vendors for international gift cards; provides a range of gift cards to choose from. The gift cards available in Pakistan currently include Amazon, Daraz, Google Play, Xbox Live, Nintendo, Sony PlayStation and Spotify gift cards, which are all great for gen-Z tech enthusiasts but what about some of the old soul millennials and their not so tech-savvy elders? Why can’t we have gift cards for phone bills, for stationery items, for takeaways and for house furnishings?

In many countries gift cards for coffee, meals, kitchenware, and garden tools are equally common as that for electronics and clothing brands. Is it the perception of extravaganza associated with gifts that is taking us long to normalise regular gift cards in Pakistan? Upon a general research, it seems our entrepreneurs have already identified this gap and are trying to bridge it. seems a good site with e-gift cards for quite a range of utilities and e-sales across outlets. Furthermore, websites like and also have e-gift card options. Along with businesses coming up with e-gift cards, it would be nice to have physical gift cards in Pakistan as well. Khaadi, a clothing brand, has its own gift cards.

The avenue can further be broadened with introduction of digital wallets as it would make transactions safe and easier.

While buying e-gift cards one must be wary of their expiration dates and any additional charges for reloading the money to the gift card, because terms and conditions apply everywhere. Also, one must know the type of gift card at hand and go through the redeeming instructions, before buying. Let’s see how soon we get to casually using gift cards in Pakistan!