These days, most of us love our technology, and tend to have several devices on us at all times that work electronically. Naturally, as technology gives us more and more advantages and makes our lives simpler, the latest and most coveted tech devices can seem like great ideas to buy as gifts for our loved ones, and in many cases, this can be true – tech savvy people can really appreciate receiving the latest expensive gadgets on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and other occasions. However, there are some pitfalls to avoid when buying tech gifts, and it pays to think about these before you shop.
Brand Loyalty: One thing that exists very strongly in the tech market is brand loyalty. This can even verge on tribalism in some cases – for example when it comes to operating systems. Some people are devoted to Apple products, whereas others hate the brand and will only use Windows computers or Android mobile devices. Hardware brands also have their devotees, so while you may think the latest Motorola phone is the greatest phone on the market, the person you are buying for may be committed to Samsung. If you don’t know, and aren’t able to find out, which operating systems and tech brands the person you are buying for likes, you run the risk of buying something that is all wrong for them. This means that you should tread carefully when it comes to computers, smartphones, tablets, and games consoles.
Trends: Some gadgets are divisive because they are fashionable. Some people love them, whereas others think they are overly trendy or ‘hipster’. This tends to cover a lot of wearables and accessories, so while one person may think smart watches or fitness bands are great, someone else might think they look pretentious. If something is fairly new to the market and seen as a trend, make sure you know how the person you are buying for feels about the item before investing.
Lifestyle: There are some very good pieces of technology that offer a lot of practical benefits, but can be taken the wrong way when given as a gift to somebody who hasn’t expressed an interest in them before. Unless you know somebody very well and are sure they want one, buying them a FitBit or Microsoft Band can make them feel like you are criticizing them and saying they should take more exercise or lose weight. Another example is electronic cigarettes, which are a great product that a lot of people absolutely love, but when given to a smoker as a gift can look like you are judging them or trying to change their habits. Kitchen gadgets can appear this way to someone who doesn’t cook very much too. Tread carefully when you buy lifestyle tech and ensure you are buying it because you genuinely think the person will love it and get use out of it, rather than because you’d like it if they did!
What Do They Already Have?: One of the biggest issues when buying mainstream tech is that the person you are buying for may already have something equivalent to the thing you are thinking of buying that they are completely happy with. It can be redundant to buy a top of the range phone for someone who has just upgraded to a new, flagship model. Someone who already owns an Xbox One may not be that excited to receive a PlayStation 4. If you aren’t sure what somebody already has and how recently they got it, stay away from ‘essential’ or very mainstream tech like phones, tablets, consoles, sat nav systems and TVs, and consider more unusual or niche tech that they are less likely to already own.
Don’t Be Offended: As you can see, there are a lot of ways your generous tech gift can turn out to be something the recipient doesn’t need or like. This means before you buy tech it pays to do your research on what the person has and likes. Of course, you can always take a gamble and buy something you think they will love, but the best thing to do in this case is to keep the receipt and tell them you won’t be offended if they want to change it for something else. Make sure you genuinely aren’t offended if they take you up on this, too – tech can be a very personal thing and it can be hard to keep up with what another person owns or likes, even when they are close to you!
These are some of the things to always keep in mind when buying technological gifts for friends and loved ones.