E-commerce websites bask in the festive cheer

Despite the gloom in economy, online shopping has continued to outgrow all predictions in 2013. The recent Google Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) and the ongoing festive season have added more

e4m by Deepa Balasubramanian
Published: Dec 26, 2013 9:48 AM  | 4 min read
E-commerce websites bask in the festive cheer

With the emergence of e-commerce portals, customers have become more open to purchasing things online. This festive season, the e-commerce players had an added advantage of getting more sales due to the Google Online Shopping Festival (GOSF).

Nikhil Rungta, Chief Marketing and Business Officer, Yebhi.com noted, “In India, the percentage of online shoppers may be marginal, but there is a lot of potential to turn consumers towards e-shopping. We realise that everyone recognises a good deal and would like to benefit from it. Yebhi.com saw 50 per cent hike in traffic during the festival time.”

Along similar lines, Vikas Ahuja, CMO, Myntra said, “This year’s festivities, which began in October with Onam, Durga Puja and Dussehra, conclude with Christmas and New Year. Each of these festivals is accompanied by a burst of activity and we have noticed heightened activity during the run up to this Christmas. Being a national brand, we are seeing traction from across the country. While the top 10 cities contribute to 45 per cent of our business, the remaining 55 per cent is driven by Tier II and III cities.”

Most e-commerce sites witnessed a significant growth in traffic. The e-commerce experts say that during the GOSF, sales were, on an average, one-and-a-half times the sales witnessed during any other festival.

Praveen Sinha, Co-Founder, Jabong.com remarked, “Generally the sales happen in bulk during Diwali or Dussehra, but this time the e-commerce sector has witnessed good revenues. It is difficult to say by what time people start buying for Christmas or New Year or any occasion. During the Google Online Shopping Festival, there was a dual effect and sales were five to six times higher. The average spends also increased to 50 per cent, while the number of page views during this time increased by 80 per cent as compared to last year.”

Amit Maheshwari, VP - Fashion Merchandising, Snapdeal.com said, “The festive season has been extremely successful for Snapdeal.com. We have seen over 50 per cent increase in our sales. Customers high on festive fervour are logging on to Snapdeal.com to shop for various products such as electronics, home decorations, apparel, jewellery, etc. Snapdeal.com is providing customers a wide range of festive discounts and offers of up to 50 per cent off on perfumes, apparel, footwear, fashion accessories, home décor, sports and fitness equipment, etc. We saw a 10x increase in our sales during GOSF 2013 as compared to GOSF 2012.”

E-commerce has witnessed tremendous growth in India in the last few years. It was always believed that metros will contribute the highest in terms of purchase. “If you look at the sales, 50 per cent is from major metros and 50 per cent from Tier II and Tier III cities,” said Sinha.

The GOSF effect
Critics say that Google’s initiative, which brings all e-commerce sites together, helped them grow significantly. The three-day festival saw two million visitors this year. Popular e-commerce portals such as Jabong, Yebhi and Myntra also saw new visitors and first time buyers.

Pradeep Chopra, CEO & Co-founder, Digital Vidya said, “While every shopping portal is offering additional discount under Year End Sale or Christmas Celebration, GOSF by Google was the highlight of this month. While Google had aggregated a large number (200+ retailers) and vendors, it still worked in favour of many of them. At the same, it was a tough task for a consumer to find out best deals and it required analysis by number of people to highlight best deals among various vendors. Players such as Goindigo, Flipkart, Paytm and Airtel had set up 24x7 dedicated support, taking into account the expected increase in business.”

“We are overwhelmed with the tremendous response received during GOSF 2013. During the three-day period, we witnessed over 120 per cent jump in traffic, which is proof of the future potential of online shopping in India,” added Vikas Ahuja.

As per industry experts, internet penetration in India is less than 15 per cent, but as this grows, the e-commerce market will also grow considerably. Despite the gloom in economy, online shopping has continued to outgrow all predictions in 2013. However, shoppers are becoming more careful about their spending.

Chopra concluded, “Honestly, I didn't see any significant differentiator among various players. Every player tried to play on the obvious aspect of pricing to attract more business. But then, there’s some time still left for Indian e-commerce players to attempt something out-of-the-box and ride on this opportunity for better business in the first quarter of 2014.”

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