Six Month Check In: The 2020 App Space

June 30, 2020
We are officially halfway through 2020, and the mobile app industry has already taken this year by storm.

A recent study reveals that 66% of Americans check their phone 160 times daily, and once they’re on their phones, 90% of that mobile time is spent on a selection of the millions of apps available through Apple and Android app stores. As people continue to work from home across the nation, those daily phone checks (and subsequent screen time) have only increased. Leading mobile market data provider App Annie’s latest report reflects this – noting a 20% year-over-year increase in daily time spent in apps on Android devices in Q1 2020. The report also notes that consumer spending in both iOS and Androids app both grew, setting a new record for in-app spending for a single quarter at $23.4 billion worldwide.

So, who is dominating the space and those numbers? Unsurprisingly, the top five worldwide apps include household names like TikTok, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Tinder, YouTube, Netflix, iQIYI and Tencent Video lead the charge with app spend. Apps like Spotify, Snapchat and Pandora all rank high too.

New to the rankings this year? Video-based apps. Previously underutilized and overlooked, video-centric apps like Zoom and Houseparty have steadily climbed the ranks during 2020’s first six months as consumers seek tangible human connection from the safety of their homes during quarantine. The focus on video connection tools isn’t limited to new apps, though. Apps like Facebook and Instagram have spent significant time during 2020 implementing various upgraded video features.

And, that’s where we fit in to 2020’s app space. At its core, GiftCast is based on utilizing video as a way to foster meaningful human connection. We offer a unique solution to celebrating both big and small moments regardless of circumstances, to creating memories that last a lifetime and to improving the gifting experience all around. It all starts with a video on a mobile device that can make lives better.

The numbers continue to paint the picture we are familiar with - there’s a significant opportunity to connect with mobile users right now. There are few advertisers in the market, phones have longer battery life and people are increasingly spending more time in apps and online.

As the app space continues to accelerate this year, we, like many app creators, are focused on seizing this new direction, on evolving to offer users special and useful functions and features and on continuing to leverage features like video to serve mobile users with authentic connections and meaningful memories.
About GiftCast Admin
Joel Deitz is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GiftCast. He posses’ deep and unflinching beliefs that design makes our world a better place. He also believes that to be happy, people need to feel important. For Joel, creating and improving GiftCast has been a great joy but using it to celebrate loved ones is even greater.
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Graduations Go Virtual: How to Celebrate

June 2, 2020
Graduating from high school, trade school, college or graduate school is undoubtedly one of life’s biggest milestones.

This year though, this momentous achievement might not look exactly how you pictured it during the pre-COVID era. Rather than walking across the stage in a cap and gown and celebrating with pictures and toasts with friends and family, graduation has gone virtual in light of social distancing. This year, graduates are cheering from the safety of their own home when their name is read aloud on Zoom, watching commencement speakers on Instagram Live or YouTube, ordering in drinks via apps like Drizly and hosting virtual graduation brunches and dinners with family via FaceTime, Skype or Google Hangout. Technology is ensuring that we keep the tradition of graduation alive and well this year, regardless of how it looks.

New technology is also helping us continue to recognize and celebrate new graduates’ years of hard work, studying, tests and essays, with creative ways to connect, gift and honor our loved ones’ efforts in the classroom. Whether we are in the same place or not, we’ve been letting graduates in our family and friend circles know how proud we are of them with personalized videos and cash gifts on GiftCast. Recipients can keep these video messages saved on their phone or in the app to look back on for years to come. Plus, we want to give graduates the option to spend their money where they prefer as they move into this next chapter.

Graduations may look different this year, but we’re thankful for technology that lets us virtually celebrate despite the circumstances.

Congrats 2020 graduates! You did it!
About GiftCast Admin
Joel Deitz is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GiftCast. He posses’ deep and unflinching beliefs that design makes our world a better place. He also believes that to be happy, people need to feel important. For Joel, creating and improving GiftCast has been a great joy but using it to celebrate loved ones is even greater.
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Mother’s Day & Father’s Day: 2020 Gift Giving Trends

May 4, 2020
With both Mother’s and Father’s Day around the corner, gift giving is on our minds – and so are the recent trends in the space.

In recent years, gift giving has been trending towards digital. Recent surveys show that 46% of consumers return one to three gifts over the holidays. By anecdotal accounts, many of these gifts are returned or exchanged to buy something more practical or something the recipient finds of value to them. Digital cash-based gifts, however, cut back on this waste and save time on trips to and from the store, allowing for more time to enjoy the gift of their choice.

Research has also shown upward trends in recipients valuing experiences over physical gifts. Gifted experiences foster a deeper connection between the gift giver and the recipient – especially in this current moment as we all increasingly grow to value the smaller things.

Beyond broader gifting trends, the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the ways holidays look this year, especially in terms of heading to the store or even online retailers to purchase a physical gift. Online retailers like Amazon have recently re-allowed nonessential item shipments, but note that shipping times may be delayed, with gifts arriving beyond their intended holiday delivery dates.

As trends move towards digital and experience-driven gifts, particularly in this current climate, GiftCast offers a quick solution accessible on any mobile device. Users choose a cash amount for the recipient to spend on a gift of their choice, accompanied by a personalized, experiential video message that the recipient can download, share and keep forever. Instead of sending flowers to mom or a cheesy mug to dad, GiftCast offers the unique option to cover dinner, the hobby they are picking up during social distancing or a round of golf when the courses re-open. Regardless of what mom or dad opts to spend their gift on, they’ll appreciate a cherished, sentimental video from their child – that they can watch on repeat until you can log face time again.

How are you making Mother’s Day and Father’s Day special this year? Let us know!
About GiftCast Admin
Joel Deitz is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GiftCast. He posses’ deep and unflinching beliefs that design makes our world a better place. He also believes that to be happy, people need to feel important. For Joel, creating and improving GiftCast has been a great joy but using it to celebrate loved ones is even greater.
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Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary: The Green Way to Give Gifts

April 20, 2020
With Earth Day’s 50th anniversary approaching, we are inspired to reflect on our efforts to help the planet. Whether its reusable shopping bags or eliminating plastic bottles, there are a variety of ways we can do our part to reduce our impact on the environment.

According to Gift Rocket, more than 1.6 billion gift cards are printed each year and over 9,000 tons of plastic are used to make them. In the United States alone, more than 30 million tons of plastic are discarded each year, with only 8% being recycled. Gift cards are a popular choice for birthdays and holidays, but their short lifespan only contributes to this increasing waste.

GiftCast tackles this problem head-on – offering a gift that is both eco-friendly and sentimental. It creates lasting memories without producing the waste of a traditional gift card, which helps the planet as it simultaneously helps those who struggle shopping for others. Not only does the app reduce plastic waste, it eliminates waste from greeting cards and wrapping paper too.

Video gifting also reduces waste from unspent gift cards. According to CNBC, up to $3 billion worth of unused gift cards are wasted each year. With GiftCast, users can send any amount of money to a loved one and give them the choice of how to spend it – instead of leaving money hanging on a gift card the recipient may never use.

As the environment changes, so will we, and we look forward to being at the forefront of the digital gifting movement. Going virtual doesn’t have to mean impersonal, and we pride ourselves on our ability to provide others with a personalized way to reach family and friends while reducing single-use plastics.

How are you reducing single use plastics in your own life? Head to our social channels and let us know!
About GiftCast Admin
Joel Deitz is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GiftCast. He posses’ deep and unflinching beliefs that design makes our world a better place. He also believes that to be happy, people need to feel important. For Joel, creating and improving GiftCast has been a great joy but using it to celebrate loved ones is even greater.
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How We’re Staying in Touch During Social Isolation

April 6, 2020
We are all built to seek connection. So, during this period of social distancing, we know we are not alone in missing our community.

However, while we may be practicing physical distancing during the next month, it doesn’t mean we have to feel completely isolated. Technology is helping us stay virtually connected with each other. Over the last few weeks, we have been getting creative with digital resources to stay in touch and foster meaningful connections during the time of COVID-19.

Instead of conference calls, we’ve been hopping on Zoom video conferences to log valuable and missed face time with colleagues we can’t see in the office. During the day, our kids have been using Zoom to attend virtual classes and to see their friends and teachers. It’s keeping us connected with larger groups despite the circumstances.

After work, we’ve been missing movie nights with our friends and family, so we’ve been relying on Google Chrome’s new Netflix Party feature for virtual, long-distance nights on the couch together. It’s fun to chat throughout the movie and is the perfect weekend isolation activity, if you ask us!

In between everything, we’ve been sending both funny and sentimental GiftCast video messages and cash gifts to friends and family, especially those whose birthdays we may be missing, those who may be out of work and financially struggling and those who could use a little pick-me-up. It’s perfect for getting in some face time with an added gift your loved one can choose how to spend. Plus, recipients can keep those video messages forever, creating virtual memories that keep on giving for years to come.

Where there is a will to stay connected safely from home, technology has a way right now.

How are you staying in touch during isolation? Head to our social channels and let us know!
About GiftCast Admin
Joel Deitz is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GiftCast. He posses’ deep and unflinching beliefs that design makes our world a better place. He also believes that to be happy, people need to feel important. For Joel, creating and improving GiftCast has been a great joy but using it to celebrate loved ones is even greater.
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Instead of getting a Starbucks gift card, my kids sent a teacher appreciation video!

December 3, 2019

By: Janice Ivy

Every school year it’s the same thing. The class mom sends out a list of the teacher’s likes for gift ideas so we can show them how much we appreciate them. It’s usually a bunch of stores that we can choose a gift card from. We go to Target to pick out a greeting card, a Starbucks gift card, and maybe add a candle or chocolates. Then throw it in a gift bag for the kids to take to school. I don’t think it stands out or makes a lasting impression for the teacher, or even touches upon how much we (and our kids) appreciate all the hard work and dedication they have to shaping young minds. These are the people we rely on every day to prepare our children for college and their future lives. It was important for us to show that appreciation in a different way. A way that they would remember forever.

That’s why this year we had our kids send their teachers a GiftCast. It was amazing. Our kids created their own personal video telling their teacher how thankful they were for them and what they liked best about their class. My daughter used her video to explain how great it was that her teacher took extra time to help her with her reading comprehension and that she is the reason she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. My son let his teacher know how much he liked math and technology, but asked for less homework.  It was very sweet and funny at the same time. I’m sure their teachers will cherish it forever.

With the GiftCast app, we were able to send a cash gift along with the video. Their teachers can spend the money anyway they want because it goes directly in their bank account. I spend the same amount I would normally, but the teachers get the addition of a special message from a student to watch again and again, and share with colleagues. The teachers were so thrilled and said that GiftCast will be on their list of gift ideas for years to come.

About Joel
Joel Deitz is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GiftCast. He posses’ deep and unflinching beliefs that design makes our world a better place. He also believes that to be happy, people need to feel important. For Joel, creating and improving GiftCast has been a great joy but using it to celebrate loved ones is even greater.
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The gift that really keeps on giving!

November 23, 2019

By: George Mehlem

My brother is so hard to shop for. I never know what to get him for his birthday. Every year I search on Google for the most innovative gift or top gifts this year for the man who has everything. Last year I got him a box of gourmet coffees only to find out he had stopped drinking coffee a few months earlier. Truly frustrating!

This year I wanted to do something original that I knew he would like and of course didn’t already have. A little background, my brother is the Godfather to my 2-year old daughter and she thinks he is the greatest person on the planet. So, what did I do for the man who has everything? I sent him a GiftCast of my daughter singing him happy birthday. It’s probably the sweetest thing anyone has ever seen. I recorded the video of her and added some money. This way he gets the amazing video and can also shop for something he doesn’t have. That’s because I attach a cash gift, like Venmo or Zelle. He withdraws the cash to his bank account and can use it for anything he wants…other than coffee of course.

The GiftCast video was a hit! He and his wife couldn’t stop watching it. He called to tell me that he had watched it close to 50 times and that it was the best gift he has ever received. He even texted me the following day to tell me how happy it made him. That felt really good to hear and also knowing he will have it forever makes it so much better. GiftCast really is the gift that keeps on giving!

About Joel
Joel Deitz is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GiftCast. He posses’ deep and unflinching beliefs that design makes our world a better place. He also believes that to be happy, people need to feel important. For Joel, creating and improving GiftCast has been a great joy but using it to celebrate loved ones is even greater.
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Can I watch my birthday videos again Daddy?

October 29, 2019

By: George Mack

I don’t know about you but my daughter loves to watch videos. She could watch Moana or Sing on repeat for days, she gets excited for Facetime with grandma and her cousins and loves watch videos of herself and her friends on the phone even more.

We go to birthday parties for her friends all the time and buying random gifts for every party is tough. Meanwhile I know how many duplicate gifts get brought to every party. Parents have to do gift returns, and on the downside everybody winds up with too much too much clutter that never gets played with in our homes. How much stuff do kids need?

Enter, GiftCast! Children can be so creative and getting them excited to go to a birthday party can be as much fun as the birthday party itself. Making a GiftCast with my daughter singing happy birthday or doing a dance to her favorite song is so fun and makes the birthday girl or boy feel really special. With the cash functionality of GiftCast the money can be used however parents see fit, they can buy the thing the child forgot to ask for or to go on an adventure. Giving a thoughtful money gift allows parents some control over presents.

For our upcoming 4th birthday party I’m going to let guests know that a GiftCast is a great way to go. 

About Joel
Joel Deitz is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GiftCast. He posses’ deep and unflinching beliefs that design makes our world a better place. He also believes that to be happy, people need to feel important. For Joel, creating and improving GiftCast has been a great joy but using it to celebrate loved ones is even greater.
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I didn’t want to give another gift card

October 19, 2019

By: Tim Campbell

I don’t know about you, but my fall back gift to almost everyone used to be a gift card. It’s fast and easy. It doesn’t require too much thought either. If a birthday was coming up, then I would head to Target or Walgreens and stand in front of the kiosk that has a bunch of different gift cards. There are tons of different stores and restaurants to choose from. In fact, sometimes I feel like it takes forever to choose which one to get. If I can’t choose, then I’ll just get the Visa card and pay the ridiculous $5.99 fee for no reason.

The problem is I never feel satisfied with a gift card as a gift. It doesn’t show that I care enough about my friend or family member. And I bet they know it when they get it. I also wonder if they even use it. My junk drawer is full of gift cards that I have never used. Either because I don’t like the store or restaurant, or I just forget to take it with me. I feel like this must be the same thing other people go through. Right? Why do we do that?

That's why we created GiftCast. It’s like a gift card, but different. You record or upload a video and send money with it. The first GiftCast I sent was to my friend who was turning 40, but I couldn’t make it to her birthday party because she lives on the other side of the country. I was able to tell her in my own words (not some fluff in a greeting card) that I truly care for her and how sad I was to not be there to celebrate with her. My kids were also in the video and they sang happy birthday to her. Sometimes a greeting card just doesn’t say exactly what you want to say, and this special occasion deserved more from me. I felt really good about it. Plus, I gave her money that she can spend on anything she wants. Not some restaurant or store that she may never go to. The money goes directly into her bank account.

My friend loved the video and now, she can watch it over and over, and keep it forever. It felt so great to give a gift that my friend loved…and I loved giving it.

About Joel
Joel Deitz is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GiftCast. He posses’ deep and unflinching beliefs that design makes our world a better place. He also believes that to be happy, people need to feel important. For Joel, creating and improving GiftCast has been a great joy but using it to celebrate loved ones is even greater.
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Giving gifts is so expensive these days

September 11, 2019

By Mandy Teng

I’m very good at remembering birthdays and special occasions for my friends and family. Or even those gifts just because I want to let someone know I’m thinking about them. I never really considered how much I was spending until this last weekend at Target. Usually I’m buying other stuff like groceries or clothes for my kiddos which distracts me from looking too closely.

However, on this last visit I was only buying a birthday gift for a kid in my son’s class. I don’t go overboard with kid’s gifts and not really sure what the correct protocol is for what to buy. I like to get a greeting card, a gift bag, and either a toy or gift card. But I was shocked by the amount I actually spent! This was just a $30 toy, but I spent almost $50 total on it. The greeting card, tissue paper, and bag will go straight to the trash heap. I always get the gift receipt so they can return it. But they only return the toy, so the card and bag are not included in what they think I actually spent. 

This is what my most recent gift cost:

Greeting card: $6.99

Gift Bag: $4.50

Tissue paper: $2.99

Toy: $29.99

Tax: $3.22

Total: $47.69

Then I looked back at what I actually spent the last time I bought a gift card for a friend’s birthday. Again, I was really surprised!  Giving a gift card comes with baggage that's similar to a traditional gift. For starters, did you know that there is a built-in cost on top of the face value? You pay a fee just for the privilege. Then you have to do something to make it look like a gift, you don't just hand someone a gift card and say "congratulations". You have to deliver it inside of something for presentation sake, so you're off to the greeting card aisle to spend time and money on a little house for your gift card to live in. The fact that a greeting card will become trash in a matter of hours doesn't make me feel good environmentally speaking either. It’s crazy to me because I’m essentially giving them a gift card. But for $50 I end up spending a whole lot more.

The gift cost breaks down like this: 

Greeting card: $7.99

Target Visa gift card: $50.00

Gift card fee: $5.00

Tax: $4.57

Total: $68.56

In conclusion, I am finding that giving physical gifts has a lot of built-in waste. I mentioned the costs associated with dressing up a gift for presentation, which add up quickly. The whole process is making me reconsider how I give gifts. Finally, there is another component of the gift giving experience that I'd like to address before I sign off here. That is the risk to reward relationship of giving any gift. When I give someone a gift like what I've described in this article I'm left wondering; Did the thing I gave matter to the person? I'm realizing that when we give a gift what we're really saying is "I remembered". 

I'd like to hear what your thoughts about the gift buying and what this all adds up to. Any examples to share?

About Joel
Joel Deitz is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of GiftCast. He posses’ deep and unflinching beliefs that design makes our world a better place. He also believes that to be happy, people need to feel important. For Joel, creating and improving GiftCast has been a great joy but using it to celebrate loved ones is even greater.
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