The e-commerce sector has recorded new highs in this ongoing festive season with noted growth in consumer electronics, smartphones, apparel and daily necessities. Early estimates by Counterpoint Research show that the share of smartphone sales online surged to about 60% in the first fortnight of Navratri-Dussehra from around 55%.
Industry executives said televisions grew to 40% from 31% in the same period last year, while refrigerators, air-conditioners, washing machines and kitchen appliances rose to 9-10% from 6-8%. Tarun Pathak, research director, Counterpoint Technology Market Research, pointed out that the pandemic, a supply shortage and more days of pre-Diwali sales turned the tide in favor of online channels.
Manish Sharma, Panasonic India, Chairman, told ET that with the reach of e-commerce expanding, several customers from tier-III towns bought expensive products online. “Reach, coupled with behavioral changes accelerated by COVID-19, is driving adoption. For instance, online AC sales this month have doubled over last year, led by premium models.
Moreover, unlike previous years, Amazon India and Flipkart began their festive season sale events from October 2 and are running it for longer this time round. They are also offering greater discounts during the initial three days. Industry executives also highlight that Tata Cliq, Reliance Digital and Croma ran promotional offers on their online stores and apps, which led to a surge in buying through e-commerce retailers.
RedSeer Consulting believes the overall shopper base has grown by around 20% this festive season compared to 2020, with tier-II markets contributing to almost 61% of all shoppers. The market research firm estimates Rs 68 crore worth of smartphones were sold every hour across online platforms during the festive sales period. RedSeer says smartphones, TVs and appliances together formed the largest selling category in e-commerce, accounting for 73% of the total gross merchandise value (GMV) across platforms during the first week of online sales.
Furthermore, there has also been a noted focus on groceries. Krishnarao Buddha, senior category head, Parle Products, said they had record growth from online channels, with its contribution increasing 300 basis points compared to a year ago, mainly driven by offers and deals. “In fact, we are seeing a massive surge in orders for their sale events in December, indicating that online growth is sustainable.”
The share of online channels, for consumer goods makers, in their overall sales mix has tripled since March 2020, as lockdowns led to thousands of consumers clicking online for essentials as well as non-essentials.