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On December 11, when an office colleague received a package from Myntra—the online shopping website—at a huge discount, and when the next day I saw many more packages getting delivered at not only at my office but also in my neighbourhood, I realised how urban Indians are latching on to this phenomenon called the Great Online Shopping Festival (Google's GOSF).
Created by Google India on December 12, 2012, in collaboration with a number of Indian online shopping portals, the idea behind the GOSF was that online shopping websites would give heavy discounts for one day in order to promote their sales. But the GOSF is not a new concept. The concept originated in the US in the middle of last decade and got christened as the Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving when companies persuade people to shop online. Since then, it has spread to various countries including Canada, Japan, Australia, the UK and China; interestingly, in China, the Singles’ Day—when unmarried men used to spend November 11 lamenting their single status with a drink—has now transformed into an online shopping day and has, in fact, become the world’s largest online shopping event.
Coming to the GOSF, while last year it was a one-day event, Google planned to organise it over three days this year, from December 11-13. But because it crossed over a million users on the first day itself, Google had to extend the festival by another day, making GOSF 2013 a four-day affair. This year, the GOSF brought together 240 e-commerce websites including the likes of Myntra, Flipkart, Jabong, eBay, Snapdeal, MakeMyTrip, Tata Value Homes and more.
Google said that last year most players saw over 350% growth in daily sales and the festival saw participation from all over India with 50% buyers making online purchase for the first time. Rajan Anandan, vice-president & managing director, Google India, had this to say about the GOSF: “With over 200 million internet users in the country, more and more users are opting to shop online and fuelling the growth of both large multinational and home-grown companies. Industry estimates suggest that there are close to 20 million online shoppers in India and it is estimated to grow to 50 million in next few years, making it a $16 billion industry.”
Nitin Bawankule, industry director, e-commerce, Google India, said, “As new internet users come aboard, we continue to see a healthy growth in searches for