Indian consumers are getting comfortable with buying online. But there are far too many sellers than buyers. Surviving, therefore, still remains a challenge
The Great Online Shopping Festival, the desi version of Cyber Monday that debuted in 2005 in the US, turned out to be an unexpected bonanza for Indian online retailers, or e-tailers as they are popularly called. The initiative led by Google, which created the platform gosf.in in partnership with 50 online retailers, saw a deluge of buyers turning in and picking up products ranging from apparels, perfumes, beauty products, gadgets such as mobile phones, computers, among many others. The week long festival that culminated with actual sales on December 12, 2012 saw more than a million visitors walking in and on the day of the festival, approximately 400,000 buyers checked out the offers up for grabs. According to organisers, approximately over 3,50,000 transactions were made during the GOSF hours, which is almost a 100% jump against 1,60,000 to 1,80,000 transactions made on an regular day.
While on one hand, the festival provided consumers an opportunity to buy products cheap and without taking the trouble of visiting a market, on the other, online retailers also had a lot to gain. For instance, the festival initiated new consumers into online buying. Needless to say discounts and deals were great inducements. Besides, for most, it wasn't just a curious peek into the extravaganza – a majority of those who came in, went back having bought something or the other. Says Nitin Bawankule, industry director, e-commerce, Google India, “Online shopping is at a nascent stage in India. The industry felt an initiative that could motivate consumers to adopt internet platforms to buy products was a the need of the hour. Organizing a day-long sale with exciting offers from a number of e-tail vendors offering diverse products was a unique experiment in India and for Indian consumers.”
According to a 2012 report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). there were 137 million claimed internet users in India at the end of June. Of these, 99 million users were