Despite Covid-19-led financial constraints, Indian ecommerce firms have driven a record $8.3 billion (Rs 58,000 crore) in order volumes during the festive season sales, which started mid-October.
The figure, estimated by market tracker RedSeer Consulting in its annual post-sales report, marks a 65% increase over last year’s festive month events, when online players raked in $5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) in gross sales. This year, the sales hit $4.1 billion in the very first week.
The overall increase, according to the report, comes on the back of improved affordability -- enabled through bank/brand offers -- well-managed stocks, high pre-sale awareness and the rise in the number of shoppers, which grew 87% from 47 million last year to a whopping 88 million this year.
More than half of these buyers, 55% to be exact, came from tier-2 cities and beyond, marking the largest ever contribution from the category in recent years. This, the report said, may be a result of higher-than-usual migration from metros to hometowns due to Covid-19 induced work-from-home requirements.
The sales recorded this year also beat industry forecasts with a significant margin. Previously, RedSeer had predicted that online retailers would clock around $7 billion throughout the festive sale month, while Forrester had suggested $6.5 billion worth of sales.
“The overall growth story has been very bullish this festive season,” Mrigank Gutgutia, director at RedSeer, said in a statement. “We had forecasted $7 billion of sales but the actual figures surpassed our expectations fairly comfortably, showing how comfortable consumers have become with shopping online even in this pandemic hit year.”
Flipkart Group trumps Amazon
Among all ecommerce platforms studied by the consulting firm, Walmart-owned Flipkart Group -- which owns Myntra and Jabong -- and Amazon India were the biggest shopping points for customers, driving 88% of all sales.
Of these two, the report said, Flipkart emerged as the winner, with nearly twice as much sale as that of Amazon. The group captured 66%, while Amazon recorded 34% of the gross merchandise value -- the total value of goods sold by the two companies.
In line with recent trends, smartphones and feature phones were the biggest contributors to the festive sales, making up 46% of all order volumes. This was followed by the category of electronics and white goods, with a contribution of 29% of all sales.
Other than that, the category of fashion contributed to 13% of total sales across platforms, less than the 16% last year, while long-tail categories such as home furnishings did better than ever, with a 12% contribution to total sales.
Commenting on these trends, RedSeer director Gutgutia said, “One clear lesson from this festive season is that ecommerce has become more mainstream than ever. And it has proven that with the right assortment at the right prices which is delivered quickly in the safety of customer's homes, the value proposition of eCommerce is very powerful. Thus it is imperative for brands and sellers to shift their focus to online quickly and enable a seamless online experience for the customer in order to thrive in a post Covid world.”