By Sohini Das
Sayani in Kolkata is buying at least seven USB drives as Dussehra gift for her cousins from a popular e-commerce portal. Working in the city's IT sector, the 26-year old feels online shopping is the best way to go during festivals.
"Not only one can avoid the crowd at the malls and shop from the comforts of one's home, but also do that at any convenient time. The attractive discounts are a plus", she says.
Convenience, is the key word. As the festive months of the year begin, e-commerce sites are expecting sales in certain popular categories to double, banking on three core factors, convenience, customisation of choice and attractive discounts and combo offers. Websites like snapdeal.com, Myntra.com, Flipkart.com and Jabong.com are expecting 100 per cent growth in certain categories.
Snapdeal's vice president, marketing, Sandeep Komaravelly feels that sales of electronics items and appliances will more than double from current levels. "We are selling 25,000 units per day of electronics items at present, and we expect a huge surge in demand for these items. Overall sales is also likely to grow above 50 per cent", he adds.
Praveen Sinha, co-founder of Jabong.com says, "Sales in certain categories, like jewellery, home accessories and apparels for us, will double, or can almost treble during the festive months. E-shopping is picking up rapidly in India as consumers get hooked on to convenience that e-commerce sites can offer."
He explains that apart from the convenience of 24X7 shopping, avoiding the crowd at malls during peak seasons, the shopping websites also offer customisation of search in terms of price range, brands, most popular etc. "A significant portion of the sales also come from tier-II and tier-III cities. This is because, while people here are brand conscious, many brands do not have a retail presence in these cities. Hence, they log on to online shopping. Around 55 per cent of our sales come from tier-II and tier-III cities", Sinha says.
Consumer electronics are a popular category even during non-festive times. "Even during non-festive season, consumer electronics form the biggest part of our sales, in terms of value. Mobiles are our leading category followed closely by computers and related accessories. In fact, electronics contribute to about 65 per cent of our sales in terms of value. Books, media and music are the next largest category. Books continue to lead from a volumes perspective", says Ankit Nagori, vice president, retail, Flipkart.com.
Flipkart is looking at doubling its market share in the tablets segment over the next few months. Nagori adds that, "Our 2011 Diwali sales from consumer electronics alone was the highest among all categories last year and we are looking at similar category growth (of almost 100 per cent) this year. In tablets, we are looking at doubling our market share over the next few months."
According to a recent study by Forrester and Assocham, in 2011, around 12.5 million consumers took part in online shopping during festive season. The report reveals that e-Commerce revenues in India will increase by more than five times by 2016, from $ 1.6 billion in 2012 to $ 8.8 billion in 2016.