Malaysia a promising market for e-gifts

PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order (MCO) have helped to accelerate the digital transformation of businesses in Malaysia and led to a change in corporate gifting patterns, with companies leaning towards e-gifts.

To many businesses, gifting is a way of establishing and maintaining the relationship with their customers. When businesses embrace digital transformation, corporate gifting is included in the process.

E-gift provider Giftee Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s director, Ryo Okubo (pix), said digitalising gifts creates value and new opportunities for companies and can solve problems that people are unable to do. For example, the conventional promotional campaign uses physical vouchers and manpower is required to distribute paper vouchers. It can be difficult to track paper vouchers when it comes to distribution and redemption.

“The e-gift system makes tracking easy as inventory management, printing, physical distribution are no longer required. Thus, promotional campaigns can be conducted at lower cost. The pandemic and MCO made people realise the value of digital gifts and digitalising businesses,“ Okubo told SunBiz.

He explained that during MCO, there are limitations to visiting or gathering during festive celebrations. People realise that instead of bringing or sending physical gifts, digital gifts become a useful solution due to its convenience. Hence, people, including corporations, are realising that digital gifts are one of the ways to send gifts and show their appreciation, especially during the MCO, to one another.

Giftee Malaysia is a subsidiary of Japan’s Giftee Inc, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Giftee Malaysia paves way for digital gift transition for companies in Malaysia, with its platform providing a total end-to-end solution from e-gift issuance to distribution. Giftee Malaysia has worked with 16 Malaysian brands such as Grab and Tealive in developing e-gifts.

An e-gift is an electronic ticket that can be exchanged for a product or service at a restaurant, café or other retail outlets and can be sent easily by e-mail and social media platforms.

Okubo said Malaysia’s market size for the gifting industry is estimated at US$1 trillion to US$3 trillion (RM4.1 trillion to RM12.4 trillion), which accounts for one-third of the gifting industry size in Japan.

“Malaysia’s gross domestic product growth is dynamic for our business as there are many gifts occasions daily from festive seasons to special occasions such as Hari Raya, Lunar New Year, birthdays and others.”

Okubo said the company is expanding its business in Asean with Giftee Malaysia as its focal point due to the country’s high proficiency in English and high smart devices penetration rate.

“Malaysia is suitable for foreigners as English is widely spoken, culturally diverse, and the smart devices penetration rate is around 93% in the country,“ he said.

He noted that many Malaysian companies want to digitalise their gifting services but do not know how and this is where Giftee comes into play.

Giftee’s Malaysia office was set up in 2018 and Okubo joined the company in 2019 to expand its overseas market. He observed that up to now, digital gifting is still not widely adopted in Malaysia.

However, Okubo pointed out that the e-wallet adoption rate is higher in Malaysia than in Japan and that Japan is still catching up as Malaysians use e-wallets more frequently.

“In the future, Japan may use Malaysia as a case study as its digitalisation speed is faster than Japan and the fastest to adapt to digitalisation in the region,” he said.