SEOUL, Korea, Jan 24 (Korea Bizwire) – Mobile gift certificates are threatening to dethrone paper-based certificates and coupons. According to industry sources on January 23, Outback Steakhouse said the mobile gift sales volume last year surpassed that of paper gift certificates for the first time since its debut in 2009. The sales amount of its mobile gift certificates (denominations of 10,000, 50,000, and 100,000 won) last year increased 540 percent from the previous year.
The main reason mobile gifts are gaining popularity is its convenience. All one needs to send a mobile gift is the phone number of the receiving side. The mobile gift is sent through a text message, which eliminates the possibility of being lost in the mail.
Starbucks also reported that its mobile gift sales volume has grown 50 percent a year for the past three years, in contrast to a slow pace of growth at 3-4 percent for paper-based certificates. Online retailer G-Market said that its mobile certificate sales rose 104 percent in January this year from the same month a year ago.
As for department stores, paper-based gift certificates are still the dominant currency. But the growth of mobile gift certificates is phenomenal. For example, the sales volume of paper gift certificates in Lotte Department Store was six times higher than that for mobile certificates. The difference now is reduced to four times. For the past three years, the annual growth rate of mobile certificate sales amount has been 30 percent.
According to data released by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, the share of mobile shopping in all online shopping has increased to 43.2 percent last year from 14.6 percent in 2011.