The Internet & Online Association (IOA) has announced the achievement of a dramatic 3,45,000-plus transactions with an aggregate value of Rs 53 crore plus for online sales this Diwali season. The whopping increase in sales can be attributed to improved e-commerce sites, internal search facilities and targeted promotions.
The IOA President, Preeti Desai stated, “The fact that the online channel is shifting from browsing to ‘order’ has disrupted the Indian marketing universe and we clearly see two key trends impacting e-commerce growth rates – one, a growing and maturing online shopper base due to increasing trust, supported by better shopping experience and great deals, and secondly, traditional marketers are experimenting successfully with online sales. It’s mandatory for the marketer to sharpen their multi-channel strategies, as the multi-channel shopper is estimated to spend two to three times the amount of single channel shoppers.”
Revenue has shot up by almost 250 per cent – compared to last year’s Rs 21 crore, this year it has jumped to Rs 53 crore plus, confirming the growing trust that consumers have in the online channel. Nearly 2,30,000-plus Indians made purchases online this Diwali clocking more than 3,45,000 transactions. The average transaction value is Rs 1,535, while the average value per e-commerce shopper will be Rs 2,300.
As per numbers recorded by the IOA, shoppers are still price conscious and practical – their Diwali shopping ranged from as little at Re 1 to as high as Rs 1,00,000. Consumers could choose from a rich online catalogue of more than 2,30,000 products. At the category level, the leading favourites were consumer electronic products, mobile phones and accessories, jewellery and watches, apparel and gift certificates. Consumers also bought big-ticket items and the sheer diversity of the gifts purchased is an eye-opener with products ranging from home theatre systems to microwaves and crackers and digicams to special Diwali hampers and sweetmeats.
Across various member sites the most active online shopping days were November 8 and 9 (just before the main gifting days of Dhanteras on November 12, Diwali on 13th and Bhau-beej on 14th), which saw a dramatic surge in transactions. Commendably November 8 being a Monday was one of the busiest days which is a sharp contrast to the rest of the year as traditionally Monday is a weak day for online transactions.
Recorded e-commerce high points were between noon and 3 pm, during employee lunch breaks. This year most retailers were expecting a high double-digit increase over last year as they were better prepared not only with promotions, consumer (buying) patterns, but also with complete control over fast responsiveness to customer inquiries, to fulfilment and express delivery. More revenue is seen to come in from repeat buyers and the retailers are beginning to realise the ‘fruits of their labour’ in the form of increased customer loyalty, as is seen this season, when 6 million-unique online visitor sessions were recorded during November 8 to 12 with an average session time of 8.7 minutes.
Interestingly, it is seen that the major drive for online sales occurs in the workplace. More than 7 million-plus users (nearly 48 per cent of the online audience) come from this segment while 75 per cent of consumers’ online rupees are spent in the workplace. The size and buying power of this group coupled with its tendency to use the net to research purchases makes it a key focus of advertising and marketing efforts. However, 80 per cent of at-work internet users have a college degree or higher and 50 per cent has annual household income of Rs 3, 00,000 or more. At-work users known to spend more time online than at-home-only users, business executives are particularly heavy internet users.