eGift Cards
Electronic gift cards are virtual prepaid cards to make purchases in stores; these contain gift codes created by brands and sent through email to customers. Most brands create gift cards of varying amounts with terms and conditions, including validity and usability, and are great for making indecisive buyers decide [4]. eGift cards can be store gift cards used at designated merchants or retailers and general-use eGift cards used to withdraw cash from ATMs. Additionally, eGift cards may have a minimum and maximum loaded amount and may be used to pay a portion of a purchase, with cash, credit, or debit to balance up. Equally, gift cards are registered online to mitigate losses, as they allow for the remaining balance to be frozen or tracked in case a card is lost, making gift cards safer than cash. Despite the increasing popularity and use of gift cards, physical cards still hold 75% of all gift card volume, while digital cards hold 25% [5].
The history of eGift cards dates back to the 1990s and has grown to $295.2 billion in 2020, which will continue at a CAGR of 5.7% to reach $440.7 from 2021-2027 [6]. Currently, 76% of adults in the US purchase a gift card for holiday shopping, with men spending more than women – $162.01 and $144.62, respectively. The electronic digital gift card is also growing faster than the traditional segment. As a result, eGift cards and vouchers are expected to reach $700 billion by 2024. The eGift cards in stores come in a simple format. They are sent through emails and SMS for recipients to present a copy of the card, save a copy, take a screenshot, or open up the card via email when making a purchase. However, online purchased eGift cards are used in a simple format by entering the card’s pin when purchasing through websites [7].
Digital Gaming Products
There are 3.24 billion gamers worldwide, with a $198.40 billion market share in 2021. Digital gaming products vary, including game keys, major platforms top-ups or subscriptions (PSN, Xbox, Nintendo, etc.), DLCs, skins for weapons or characters, and other in-game bonuses. Digital codes are unique, cannot be reused, and are only redeemable on the game provider’s platform.
Game distribution happens in two ways – digital and physical copies. Physical copies come with game discs bought from retail stores and are usually distributed in the following sequence:
In contrast, Digital copies exist electronically and can be purchased through online platforms such as Steam, Origin or PSN, and involve two steps: the publisher, distribution platforms and players. Publishers have more say in the price and sales of their digital codes [8].
Currently, online distribution dominates over the market. Digital distribution is the present and future of the gaming industry. Many video game publishers and console manufacturers have created digital distribution platforms, such as PlayStation Store, Origin, Steam, and Xbox. These platforms provide their users the ability to purchase and download digital content.