While formal events like weddings and bar mitzvahs may always have ties to paper, in today’s world many people turn to the Internet for invitations, party planning tools, gifts, greeting cards, and photos memories for their celebrations.

Three key reasons brought party planning online: convenience, speed, and the prevalence of connected devices. New technologies, resources, and mobile apps provide party hosts with the tools they need to put together an unforgettable celebration from start to finish.

Online Party Planners

party planning onlineThe number of parties planned online is expected grow at a rate of 12% each year. Hosts go online to create and send customized digital invitations that rival paper. Not only have online invitations become an acceptable replacement for paper invites, but also they make the host's life easier with enhancements that paper can’t offer.

Sites like Punchbowl.com enable hosts to easily keep track of RSVPs, poll guests with a date decider, and include a potluck list or gift registry. With the quality of paper, the convenience of digital, and none of the cost, it should not be surprising that an estimated 35 million events are planned online each year.

The explosion of social media and bloggers provided fuel to the online party planning engine, especially to women ages 25 to 44, who plan the majority of parties in the United States. Every month, 2.7 million people search for “party ideas” on Google. Hosts almost exclusively look online for all ideas related to their party: themes, recipes, decorations, games, favors, and much more.

To meet these online search habits, many brick-and-mortar retailers have taken their businesses online, as evident by the fact that retail eCommerce sales were up 15% in 2012. People who shop for party supplies online benefit from a large selection that they can browse whenever and wherever it’s convenient for them. Plus, the ability to search for specific keywords allows shoppers to easily find products that match a specific theme.

Digital Gifting

As other areas of the celebrations industry moved to digital, many ask the question, can gifts be as thoughtful when given electronically? Recent behavior says yes.

Digital gift card sales are expected to reach $8 billion in 2013. Almost 20% of consumers bought or received a digital gift card in 2011, which was a 50% increase over the year before, according to Chief Marketer. Not only is purchasing gifts convenient for the person giving the item, but it’s also extremely helpful for whoever is receiving the gift. Plus, recipient is more likely get just what they want when it’s a gift card or online subscription.

digital gifting

Thoughtfulness has been a key consideration for digital greeting card companies. In recent years, an average of 30 million people visited eCard sites in the month of December to send holiday wishes to friends and family. Sites like Punchbowl allow senders to customize the digital card with a personal message. Also, technology delivers the digital card in a way that mimics the act of receiving and opening a traditional card.

Virtual Memories

digital photo sharing Without question, how we capture, share, and preserve our memories from celebrations has changed with digital technology. When was the last time you put a roll of film into a camera? It’s probably even been a long time since you pulled out a digital camera, rather than simply using the camera on your smartphone. This shift is seen by the fact that 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook everyday and 40 million photos are uploaded to Instagram everyday in 2013. Not only are we using technology to take the photos of our daily celebrations, we make the most of social networks to connect and share these moments with others.

Digital products and technology will continue to evolve and undoubtedly the celebrations market will adapt to keep up with the changes. Considering how we planned parties 15 years ago compared to now, it’s an exciting time to be a celebrations marketer where new innovations are rewarded frequently. To read more on how celebrations became digital, check out the white paper, “The Transition from Paper to Digital in the Celebrations Market.”

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