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Econsultancy has highlighted a report by US-focused statistics firm Elastic Path, which suggests that 27% of Christmas shoppers plan to buy digital gifts this year, with 36% of those intending to spend more on virtual items than they did in 2010.
'Digital gifts' refers to things like game downloads, ebooks, MP3 albums and redeemable gift cards. The following chart demonstrates the relative popularity of a variety of digital gifts.
Despite the obvious increase in popularity for digital gifts and their convenience for the consumer, there's something a little impersonal about the idea of purchasing a game download or an ebook as a Christmas present. Perhaps I'm just the sentimental type, but I prefer to give my kids something to unwrap on Christmas morning, rather than something that will just pop up in their inbox.
It seems 32% of prospective customers agree with me, as the impersonality of digital gifts was listed as their greatest drawback, closely followed by the fact that they are just less fun to open!