While sales at offline retailers didn’t really sparkle this festive season, online retailers are understood to have done well with electronics accounting for 75% of the merchandise sold. E-retailers are estimated to have clocked a gross merchandise value of R13,500 crore, selling more than 65 million units, according to RedSeer Consulting. However, this data does not account for returns and cancellations, which are typically around 20%.
Footfalls at malls and shops were fewer this Diwali. Shopping malls such as DLF’s Promenade and DLF Saket have posted negligible growth compared with the last festive season. “The rise in sales was about 3-4% which is the same as last year for DLF Promenade. For DLF Place Saket it was a little higher at 4-5%,” Pushpa Bector, executive vice president and head, premium malls, DLF Utilities, told FE. Analysts at Motilal Oswal observed the demand in the brick and mortar segment had shifted towards lower value products. Apparel stores had seen tepid interest, they said, with consumers largely spending on jewellery and electronics.
As in earlier years, mobile phones and tablets appear to have been the most popular products online accounting for 50-55% of the value of sales followed by large appliances which accounted for more than 10%. “This festive season was very good, as we posted sales of close to Rs 400 crore almost double of Rs 219 crore of sale, which we clocked during last festive season,” said Arvind R Vohra, CEO and MD, Gionee India. Smrithi Ravichandran, director, category design and organisation, Flipkart, told FE the large electronics category grew nine times the daily value and sales of home and furniture items three times.
Ravichandran added the e-commerce firm sold about 9-10 million units during the Big Billion Days sale, a 30% jump in the number of units sold from October 7-16. Flipkart held two sales, Amazon held three while Snapdeal held five sales.
Abhijit Mitra CEO, Infiniti Retail, which runs the Croma chain, said same-store sales reported a rise of 18% during Diwali. Analysts attribute some of the hike to the tie-up with online player Tata Cliq. Prathyusha Agarwal, marketing head of Tata Cliq, said the e-tailer allowed consumers to buy a product online and then collect these from a Croma outlet. “This helps drive footfalls to Croma stores,” Agarwal added.
Anil Kumar, CEO, RedSeer Consulting, said October had been the single biggest month for Indian e-tailing sector with most large e-tailers recording their highest ever monthly GMVs. While average order value (AOV) for the FMCG and fashion and lifestyle category stood at Rs 600, for electronics including appliances and mobile phones the AOV was Rs 3,000-4,000.
According to Amazon India, several customers who bought electronics and mobile phones also made purchases in other categories like home, kitchen, apparel, shoes and everyday essentials. Most categories saw sales of three to five times the daily run rate. Large appliances witnessed a spike of 13 times the daily run rate and consumables grew nearly 130%.
Industry observers opine that this time around the discounts were smaller across categories and, therefore, shoppers too were not really tempted to buy. Electronics and jewellery are the two sectors which recorded robust sales during the festive season.