The Appeal of Digital Gifts This Holiday Season

Why more shoppers are opting for ebooks, online subscriptions, and virtual gift cards.

Woman reading e-book in a coffee shop.(e-book text is LOREM IPSUM fake language)
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[Read: 10 Ways to Stay Safe While Shopping Online.]

Follow up on your gift. Digital gifts run the risk of getting caught in spam filters or other delivery issues, so Hunter suggests making sure the email actually arrived in the recipient's inbox or on their smartphone. "It's equivalent to the old days of calling a friend and asking, 'Did my package arrive?'" she says. "You hope to hear from the recipient before it comes to that, but if it's been a couple of days, best to break the silence and just check."

Schrage says he learned this the hard way: "I once sent a digital gift card to a friend of mine overseas. I forgot to follow up with him, and he never received the link to print the gift card. I failed to keep my confirmation email and had no record of my purchase. I ended up losing that money."

One workaround for this problem is to have the eGift emailed to you so you have a digital paper trail and can forward the code yourself, says Norcross. Some digital-gift retailers allow consumers to schedule the time their present is delivered, but if not, this strategy allows you to time the delivery for a birthday or holiday.