How International Gifting Culture Changed During the Pandemic

 (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Gifts are an intrinsic part of contemporary culture. People use gifts to build and maintain relationships between family members and romantic partners, and even in business. Immigrants use gifts to stay connected to their communities across the globe. Additionally, corporate gifts can become an integral part of marketing and business development strategies. It’s not surprise that this field has been changed by the pandemic -- as almost everything else in the world in 2020-21. Today, we invite you to explore how international gift-giving culture has changed recently because of COVID-19.

Gifts to Family and Friends

With so many families separated by lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world, many people experienced difficulties staying connected with their relatives and friends. This became especially evident during the holiday season. A lot of people turned to gifts to express their bonds and used them to maintain connections to their communities in mother countries.

Along with meetings, celebrations, and reunions, gift giving -- something that previously was considered mostly as a part of in-person interactions, now became virtual. The variety of gifts that are acceptable for events such as birthdays and weddings have broadened to adapt to changing environments and the fact that people cannot meet face-to-face during significant moments in their lives.

Let’s take winter holiday gifts as an example of how expectations and overall culture has changed recently. Handmade gifts and homemade food that were usual part of celebrations in many cultures are now often substituted with products that can be delivered to the recipients’ doorsteps. At the same time, because of the post and courier services being overwhelmed with the amount of deliveries they are handling, online equivalents of gifts such as certificates and gift cards are becoming more popular since they can be delivered immediately without risking a significant delay.

Romantic gifts and flowers

The demand for romantic gifts is growing this year. With Valentine’s Day approaching, not only couples in long distance relationships, but also those temporarily separated from each other by local restrictions, seek opportunities to express their feelings and devotion.

While local florist shops can serve this demand, that’s interesting that international flower delivery services are booming. IsraelFlorist, a website that offers flower and gift delivery services in Israel to its international audience, reports growing demand for floral arrangements delivered not only inside Israel, but also from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Israeli immigrants there are 30-100% more interested this year in arranging flower delivery to their loved ones back home than during a similar period last year.

Gifts as a Sales and Marketing Tool

With so many international conferences and events canceled last year, corporate gifts became a very important sales and marketing tool for business development teams to use to secure connections with their customers and partners on a global scale. In a situation where companies cannot use in-person interactions to build lasting relationships and improve loyalty, business gifting programs can be a key to success.

International corporate gift delivery company Gift Baskets Overseas reports that the demand for corporate gifts grew steadily starting in March 2020 and reached its peak over the holiday season 2020-21. On average, companies now are 3 times more likely to use gifts as part of their loyalty programs if they previously relied on events and business travel as part of their relationship building efforts.

Corporate gifting culture has changed as well. A broader variety of products has now become acceptable as a part of a business gift hamper. For instance, many such gifts include gourmet treats and alcoholic beverages (in countries where alcohol consumption is permitted), luxury and lifestyle souvenirs, experience gifts, and even flowers.


Gifts help build connections. Be it romantic, family, or business relationships, consider adding gifts to your strategy to create unforgettable experiences.