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How To Get Ahead When Gift Buying Online

By Taarek Hinedi | December 13, 2023

Nothing is more rewarding than showing appreciation for loved ones at home or around the world. During festive periods, shop smarter and make e-commerce work for you when shopping online for the ideal gifts.

In the Middle East and Africa, gifting is a cultural form, a form of art.

Picture this: you’re planning to surprise your brother with the vintage record player of his dreams. However, with the high volume of shipments during the festive season, the gift arrives late. Not what you were hoping for, was it?

In today’s e-commerce age, the online holiday rush often comes with unforeseen delays. These can impact timely deliveries, dashing expectations when your thoughtfully chosen gift gets caught up in the logistics whirlwind.

The importance of on-time gift delivery

Across the Middle East and Africa (MEA), gifting is a cultural norm, a form of art. It is a gesture everyone can understand, embodying the region’s historical values of generosity and hospitality. The region is full of festivities throughout the year, and gifting is widespread among family members, friends, coworkers, and partners to demonstrate gratitude.

For instance, during Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, common in many Islamic countries, it is customary to exchange gifts such as clothes, perfumes, and sweet treats like dates and chocolates. Additionally, the Christmas festive season, celebrated by Christian communities across the region, involves its own unique gifting traditions, which include handmade items, decorative artefacts, and festive foods.

While finding gifts that perfectly suit the recipient is essential, the right timing is equally important. On-time delivery shows you care enough to go the extra mile, meticulously orchestrating every detail to brighten someone’s day.

RELATED: How to ship holiday gifts with FedEx

Ensuring that your thoughtful presents arrive in time leaves no room for disappointment. It’s the action, not the intention alone, that elevates a simple gift into a memorable experience - strengthening relationships and making them more meaningful.
In the Middle East and Africa, gifting is a cultural form, a form of art.

Woman smiling, unwrapping bubble wrap from box

How to ensure your holiday gifts arrive on time

It’s no question that online shopping tends to surge during festive seasons. Industry data shows that e-commerce is expanding at a breakneck pace throughout the MEA region.

As the world comes together in a tapestry of celebrations, this spike in e-commerce demand places immense strain on international shipping channels.

Delicate gifts that cross continents can enter a complex web of customs, regulations, and unpredictable delays. Warehouse capacities are stretched to their limits, while congestions at ports and airports can make timely delivery a challenge.

To make sure your gifts arrive on time, you need to shop early. A good rule of thumb is to start shopping at least a month in advance.

3 benefits of shopping early

Aim to shop early, and look for cost-effective, time-guaranteed delivery that suits the receiver’s most convenient location and time. And with the hectic nature of the holiday season, it’s reassuring to have the peace of mind that your gift has actually arrived at its destination. Here are a few more benefits of shopping early:

1. You’ll get the items you want before they sell out

A significant benefit of early shopping is that you have a better chance of finding your desired goods in stock – whether it’s a handcrafted item produced in small batches by a local brand, or a popular tech gadget everyone’s been waiting for.

During festive seasons, there is a greater chance that these items will sell out quickly.

2. You might be able to buy gifts at a discount

Saving money can be an added bonus when you’re proactive. With more time to shop around, you can take advantage of promotions and other discounts.

3. You’ll have more time to personalize your gifts

Early gift planning also means more time for personalization.

Adding hand-written messages, engraving a name on a piece of jewelry, customizing a t-shirt design, or combining multiple items for a one-of-a-kind gift-box can make your family and friends feel truly valued.
Man assembling a bicycle near large window

Timing is everything, and shipping gifts early bridges the distance, allowing those far from home to join in the festivities.

Need to ship an item? Open a FedEx account to unlock discounts now.

A version of this article appeared in HiDubai on November 29, 2023.
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About the Author
the author bio

Taarek Hinedi

Vice President,
Operations, Middle East and Africa, FedEx

Taarek is responsible for the air and ground operations in the Middle East and Africa region. Having previously spent 12 years as Managing Director, FedEx Express in India and a key member of the Express Industry Council of India (EICI), he has been instrumental in representing the Indian logistics and express industries. Taarek is now based in Dubai.

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