Online festive sales season kicked off last weekend with much fanfare and the country's top three e-tail biggies (Flipkart, Amazon India and Snapdeal) are already claiming to have witnessed stupendous sales, thanks to discounts on a range of products from electronics to furniture to clothes.
Surprisingly, it's not just the traditional urban consumers who are driving sales, but their counterparts from small towns, too, are making the most of this limited period online window shopping opportunity.
Most of the online shoppers from tier II towns such as Sikkim, Tripura, Andaman and Nicobar islands are dominating the shopping landscape.
Shopclues - a managed marketplace, which has a longer duration sale from October 1-10 titled #ItneKumMein thisaid that it has seen 100 percent traction from Tier II and III cities, besides metros. It has also seen active shoppers from Tier 4 cities like Nizamabad, Haridwar, Panipat among others.
The marketplace has claimed that is has seen 5x growth in business in the first two days of the sale, with a 10x growth in feature phones priced lesser than Rs 1,000, 5x growth in 4G smartphones lesser than Rs 5,000, and 5x growth in 32" LED TV priced lesser than Rs 1 lakh.
To give a perspective of growing sales from these small cities and towns, Amazon India said sales from from tier II and tier III towns jumped 17 times over last year, according to a Times of India report.
"We have seen a five-fold growth in new customer acquisition and 70 percent of them came from tier II & II towns," the ToI report said quoting Manish Tiwary, VP, category management at Amazon India.
Sales are also boosted by technology and well-oiled back-end network. With the increase in better infrastructure in terms of logistics, broadband and internet-ready devices, sales are expected to increase in tier II and tier III cities besides the metros, according to an ASSOCHAM survey. The survey was carried out during the course of past fortnight across 10 cities of – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai to ascertain their shopping plans for the upcoming festive season.
“About 60 per cent of the total respondents said they are ready with their shopping lists and would prefer online shopping over standing long hours in store aisles, while most of the remaining opted for shopping at physical brick and mortar outlets,” highlighted the survey conducted by the ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation.
“This is expected to be the busiest festive season for e-commerce companies as Indian consumers are likely to spend up to Rs 25,000 crore and more as against over Rs 20,000 crore spent in festive season last year thereby registering about 25 per cent growth,” said D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the chamber’s survey-cum-analysis.
“Besides, introduction of premium services like free shipping, extended return period and others together with rise of high-speed internet usage through smartphones are likely to boost online shopping this festive season and help the e-tailers to register profits after a dull first half of this year,” he added.
Etailers like Amazon India's claim of posting impressive sales from small towns this season stems from a Google Trends'analysis, which shows that the search for "online shopping" had increased from Tripura, Sikkim, Mizoram among others in the run-up to the annual sale event.
The analysis further reveals that a query search for online shopping for other online etailers like ShopClues increased by 80 percent following the launch of its 'lowest price online challenge', while Snapdeal stood tall at over 300 percent rise in query from these regions, a ANI report added.
Although, Snapdeal and Flipkart are yet to disclose the sales registered from small towns, all the three online retailers, however, are already upbeat about the overall sales witnessed in last couple of days.
Snapdeal and Flipkart claimed lakhs of transactions on their platforms on the first of the 5-day October festive discount sales on Sunday. Meanwhile, Amazon, which started its 5-days special sale on October 1, said it has seen 6 times growth over its regular business.