Gift-giving has been a part of Japan's distinct culture. People give gifts when they meet the first time, when they come back from a trip or other important occasions.

But in recent years, there's a new twist – eGift giving.

Here in Japan, it's no longer just about giving a gift to who we meet. Japanese are adapting this growing trend to sending real gifts to their social media connections, even without knowing their address.

It is important for all ecommerce business who consider expanding to Japan to understand this trend and know how to adapt it to your ecommerce website, letting customers surprise their friends with gifts via email or LINE.

*This article is a part of our latest series, 'Localize your ecommerce brand in Japan' to help international brands expand to Japan. If you want to check out the previous episodes, find more here:

Join us on this journey to explore Japan's eGift culture and learn how your business can adapt this trend to thrive your business expansion in Japan!

Gift Giving Trend in Japan

Back in the day, gifts for events were often acquired from department stores or through catalog gifts. In 1997, Takashimaya opened Japan's first full-fledged virtual department store for online shopping, "Takashimaya Virtual Mall." Subsequently, other department stores like Isetan and Hankyu Hanshin Department Store, as well as companies handling catalog gifts like Shaddy, launched specialized ecommerce platform for gifts.

This gift-specialized ecommerce site offers a much wider variety of gifts compared to physical stores or ecommerce platform with limited product selections. Users looking to buy gifts for Mother's Day or birthdays from online platforms began to frequent these gift-specialized stores as they could choose from numerous options until they found the perfect gift for their recipients.

Following this trend, gift-specialized ecommerce shops can be broadly categorized into two types:

  1. Those that handle traditional Japanese gifts
    The shop that offer the traditional gifts for two main gifting occasions in each year: "Ochugen" (mid-year gift) and "Oseibo" (year-end gift) includes "Takashimaya's Gift" and "Keio NET SHOPPING." These are often operated by companies running offline stores like department stores and catalog gift retailers.
  2. Those that deal with casual gifts like birthday presents
    Examples include "TANP" and "Giftmall." These companies operate exclusively online without physical stores.

After the rise of gift-specialized e-commerce like the first category, numerous e-commerce-native gift shops like the second category have emerged one after another.

However, due to the pandemic, events like weddings and funerals have been canceled one after another. The formal gift market has seen a decline in sales over the past few years. Gifts related to seasonal occasions like mid-year or year-end gifts, as well as those associated with special life events, have been on a shrinking trend.

On the other hand, the casual gift market has been expanding its scale. Cases of exchanging casual gifts among close acquaintances have increased during events like birthdays, Mother's Day, and Father's Day, serving as a casual means of communication. The reduced opportunities to meet people during the pandemic and the changing nature of human relationships are also contributing factors.

With this change, social gifting has emerged based on the growing trend of casual gifts. The e-commerce industry in Japan has been paying attention to social gifts (e-gifts) that go well with casual gifts.

Social Gifting (eGift): Making Casual Gifts Possible

Social gifting, also known as eGift, allows you to send gifts via SNS like LINE or email, even without knowing the recipient's address.

With this method, buyers do not need to know the recipient's address or contact information at the time of purchase. It works by sending an order URL through SNS or email, and the recipient can input their address and delivery preferences to receive the gift. Also, the recipient can specify their preferred location and time of delivery, and it becomes easier to protect personal information.

The convenience of being able to send gifts to people whose address and phone number you may not know has made Social Gift (e-Gift) particularly popular among the younger generation. It is commonly used for small tokens of appreciation or communication in daily life.

This casual gifting trend surged, especially with the rise of gift cards like Starbucks cards and LINE Gift.

Amidst the impact of COVID-19, the digitization of gift shops led to increased EC adoption, expanding the range of products available for social gifting. LINE Gift saw remarkable growth, reporting a 330% increase in total circulation and over 20 million users in 2021. The trend of gifting on non-specialized EC sites also steadily rose, indicating the growing appeal of casual gift-giving.

eGifts 101: Basic Use of eGift

As an ecommerce business, you need to know how eGift actually works. For the sender and recipient, the basic steps are as follows:


  1. Select the desired product or amount for the gift.
  2. Make the payment for the eGift (if it's a prepaid service).
  3. Send the eGift URL to the recipient via SNS or email.


  1. Receive the eGift sent via SNS or email.
  2. Click the URL to accept the eGift.
  3. Use or exchange the eGift.

Except for product exchanges in physical stores, all transactions are completed online.

How to Apply eGift to Your Ecommerce Site: Learn From the Case Study in Japan

For e-commerce businesses looking to prepare for the future expansion of the eGift market, here are some key strategies:

  1. Join Gift Ecommerce Malls:
    Consider joining specialized Gift ecommerce malls in Japan, such as Giftee, Giftmall, TANP, or Shaddy. By establishing a presence in these dedicated platforms, you can tap into a customer base that might not be accessible through your own site or other malls.
  2. Make Your Own Ecommerce Gift Feature Ready:
    Enhance your own ecommerce website by adding gift-related features. Apart from the gift ecommerce malls mentioned earlier, you can add the gift-related features to your store by implementing the cloud-based tools, or if you are on Shopify, an eGift application will be helpful option.

If you are planning to add a gift feature for your Shopify site, here are the list of feature you can add on using an eGift application:

  • Set different shipping address from billing address
  • Deliver eGifts to multiple recipients from a single payment
  • Offer an option to select decorative gift wrapping paper strips (Noshi) / gift wrapping
  • Sending a digital message card with eGift

There are several made-in-Japan Shopify applications you can install to add those features including AnyGift, All in Gift and Social Gift.

Case study of Paul & Joe:

In this article, we brought you with a success case from Paul & Joe online store, a well-known fashion label born in Paris.

They implemented AnyGift app to their Shopify store in order to create an environment that made it easier to send gifts directly from their ecommerce shop.

During the first year after launching the online store, they explored various gift services. In July 2022, they introduced a paid gift-wrapping option. Surprisingly, approximately half of our customers chose the gift-wrapping service, reaffirming the high demand for gifts. At that time, their team witnessed high demand for gifts from their ecommerce website and take the opportunity to introduce the an enhanced gifting experience through eGifts.

They integrated AnyGift, a platform that allows immediate gifting on their official online store. After implementing e-Gifts, they launched awareness campaigns, including free shipping for e-Gift purchases, encouraging customers to try this new gifting trend using the newsletter and chat support.

The introduction of e-Gifts proved to be a success, with e-Gift sales skyrocketing by 780% within six months. Additionally, around 25% of customers who received e-Gifts registered for their newsletter, creating valuable touchpoint with new customers.

To Sum it Up

If you've read this far, you now have the knowledge to embrace the eGift trend in Japan and successfully integrate it into your online store. The next step is implementation and ensuring your customers are aware of this convenient option.

We wish you a smooth setup for your online store in Japan!

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About Ship&co

Ship&co is a global shipping platform designed by and for ecommerce sellers. Created by the team behind Bento&co, who have been selling on Shopify since 2008, Ship&co provides a simple and easy-to-use web dashboard and shipping API. Ship&co helps online sellers ship packages faster by automatically syncing orders and creating shipping labels and invoices in minutes. With Ship&co, you can create shipping labels for FedEx, UPS, DHL, NinjaVan, Yamato, Sagawa, and more, with just two clicks to complete the process and mark your orders as shipped. For more information on Ship&co, visit or reach out to us via !