Did festive season really click for online retailing in india?

A recent joint study undertaken by Forrester and ASSOCHAM, predicted that Indian e-commerce revenue will grow by 350 percent in the current festive season for a variety of products like mobile phones, e-tablets, consumer electronics, home appliances, home decor, furnishings, apparel and ornaments.

Iamwire conducted a research and found that almost all the e-commerce players came up with new product ranges and offers to attract the consumers to do their festive shopping online and experienced substantial rise in sales.

Growth in sales

Myntra experienced almost 15-20% increase in sales, Jabong witnessed daily orders increased by 170-260% of the long term mean; Shopclues doubled its daily business for the past 3 weeks and experienced good proxy of the festival season demand. Whereas ebay’s overall transactions were almost doubled and margins went lower in most categories due to intense competition for attracting the festive shopper. Indiatimes sales grew by 300% on a monthly basis, and Ferns and Petals conversions and orders jump 3 times higher in comparison to regular days.

Categories that performed best

Gifting and apparel category were a hit during this festive season, Shopclues  being a category, product and brand agnostic experienced festive season demand across the board, especially clothing, shoes, electronics, home appliances, home decor, tablets, etc. Myntra and Jabong witnessed significant uptick in Apparel section in addition to other popular gifting items like such as watches, perfumes, jewellery, fashion accessories etc. Footwear category performed best for Myntra where as Jewellery and Home and Living items performed higher than normal demand during the festive season for Jabong. Ferns and Petal experienced increased sales in gifting category including decorative, chocolate, dry fruits, etc. Indiatimes and Ebay experienced consumers splurging more on personal & home gadgets leading to increased sales of LCD/LED TVs, Tablets, Smartphones, Digital Cameras and Indiatimes electronics’ category recorded more than 60% of the product views.  Ebay found that Product categories such as Exercise & Fitness Products, Footwear and Watches also almost doubled in transactions this festive season.

Customer demography

Ferns and Petal and Indiatimes found females more active in online shopping accounting 60% and 70% for Ferns and Petal and Indiatimes respectively of the total shoppers. Indiatimes found Electronics category dominated by male shoppers. Myntra and Shopclues found most of the customers coming from the young demographics (age group of 20’s & 30’s).

Most of the companies found maximum of their business coming from top ten cities. Indiatimes Urban centres accounted 65% of their shoppers while Tier II and III cities account for the rest whereas For Ebay Delhi topped the rankings & shops the most in the festive season followed by Bengaluru & then Mumbai. Myntra’s 50% business came from the top 10 cities and the rest from tier 2 & 3 cities across the country. Shopclues found nearly 40% of its business came from cities with less than 1mm population, where as Jabong experienced almost equal growth in both metro and non-metro cities.

Strategies adopted: from discounts to media promotions

Talking on strategies taken up to boost sales Praveen Sinha Co-founder and Managing Director, Jabong said, “We fundamentally believe in offering high quality products and uncompromising service levels to our customers. Our typical customers are fashion forward people who would buy latest collection and not necessarily looking for discounted or last season products. Many of these suppliers and brands will not allow discount to woo customers as they price the product as per quality/value having said that, we do our best by working closely with the brands to provide value to the customers by coming up with festive offers, combos, special discounts, etc.”

Shopclues focused on product innovations and launched largest Diwali Mall with over 20k products from hundreds of sellers. Indiatimes did the mega Oktoberfest in October, Ferns and Petal came up with a new gifting product range and offered various incentive base discounts with a loyalty program to reward the regular customers. Myntra launched a Gift Cards feature along with interest free EMI facility and also carried a Diwali promotion called ‘Accessorize Yourself’ and also offered free gifts including branded watches, handbags, backpacks, wallets etc.

Almost all companies tried to take up various strategies for promoting their websites through digital and social media platforms. Myntra used a combination of digital mailers & Ads, TV & Radio and social media to promote our festive offers and special promotions and to create buzz around these campaigns and engage shoppers.

Shopclues focussed more on technology and services innovations to maintain overall Site performance. Jabong enhanced website to enable bundling of festive offers and to deal with high traffic and also worked on reducing the response time on the website.

What was new?

Myntra.com introduced new products in almost all categories to provide more variety and choice to shoppers. Jabong also introduced latest in fashion in ethnic wear for the festive season and also added new collections in the Home & Living category. Ferns and Petal introduced a complete new range of gifting products with same day delivery in Delhi/NCR for gift products.

Challenges faced

Speaking on the challenges faced Subhanker Sarker, COO, Indiatimes Shopping said, “Meeting customer expectations of delivery are the biggest challenge as bookings touch a record high, infrastructure challenges also reach their peak during the festive season. Indiatimes Shopping has a strategic partner for logistics and warehousing. This has allowed us to have flexible capacity, round the clock operations and strongly coupled working with business to make some incredible optimizations and apply tactical heuristics to surmount the logistical challenges.”

“Deteriorating SLA for the 3PL partners, under performance of payment gateways, and irrational deal offerings by many E-Commerce companies is the biggest challenge.  Our plan continues to focus on innovations and user experiences and keep our head down and keep executing,” said Sandeep Aggarwal, founder & CEO, Shopclues.

Myntra.com remained well equipped to handle the festive season demands and ensured that all fast moving products were well stocked and worked closely with its partners to ensure that products are delivered on time. Similarly Jabong’s systems maintained flexibility to scale up on short notice through over lapping shifts, team trained to multi-task (so that they can take over different roles as per the requirement). Moreover, Jabong anticipated growth this festive season and thus suitably planned for it in terms of stocking and logistics.

Iamwire Byte

With online shopping becoming popular due to changing lifestyle, e-commerce sites are increasingly introducing new business models to tap the growing online shopping market. The heavy discounts, special offers, same day delivery offer remained main reasons behind the increase in sales in almost all categories. Apart from Diwali, Valentine’s Day and Rakshabandhan week also witness peaks in online sales in India.

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  • pooja

    It has been one of the worst quarters the country has seen in last 3 years. Inspite of diwali, durgapuja, dhantares — still failed to raise the spirits and the sales… None of the retailers want to talk about it, i guess it is only the etailers with multifold exponential growth patterns…?? surprising…

    where are they getting their customers from??? pakistan… huh

  • http://www/meramobiles.com Raj Bhatt

    Agree with PVRK Prasad. Also the article misses Snapdeal

  • PVRK Prasad

    Any E commerce sales trends that exclude Flipkart and HomeShop18 are pretty useless.