According to a report published by RedSeer Consulting, the e-commerce industry witnessed a 64% year-on-year growth to reach $2.3 billion worth of sales (GMV) between the five festive days last year.
E-commerce websites provide heavy discounts to make the most of the festival momentum.(Reuters Photo)
Jamshedpur-based Nilanjana Ghosh, 26, who is pursuing a fellowship, likes to buy her regular items whenever she is able to crack the cheapest deal. She generally keeps items such as electronics, books, household requirements, art and craft, interior decoration and costly cosmetics for festive seasons. Apart from these, Ghosh regularly purchases clothes during the Diwali and Durga Puja festive sales. She spends at least ₹5,000 a year on clothes, and during other festive sales, she spends ₹2,000 on an average. “Even for bulk purchases, I wait for festive seasons,” she said.
In the upcoming season, Ghosh is planning to buy a mobile phone or a tablet and a bookshelf which might cost her ₹15,000 or more, although this is a one-off expense. “I also try cutting some corners by effectively using coupons, wallet balance and points,” said Ghosh.
Ghosh is not the only one when it comes to stalling expensive electronic purchases for festive seasons. Gone are the days when you would have to wait for months together to give yourself a chance to loosen the purse strings. This is visible in numbers too. According to a report published by RedSeer Consulting, the e-commerce industry witnessed a 64% year-on-year growth to reach $2.3 billion worth of sales (gross merchandise value (GMV)) between the five festive days last year – October 9-14 – and around 55% of the total GMV was mobiles, 23% was electronics, 14% was fashion and 8% were other products.
Mostly, people wait for festive sales only when the purchase is not urgent. “Generally, I don’t stall for online festivals unless I’m purchasing items which are not immediately required. Mostly, purchase of high-priced gadgets (mobiles, tablets, etc) or inessential items (board games, etc) are stalled,” said Bengaluru-based Pranjal Paul, 26, who work as a business development lead for a cleantech company.
When it comes to timing the purchase of clothes, Paul believes the discount varies a lot depending on the type of clothing. “I tend to buy more of jackets, blazers, t-shirts (which aren’t absolutely required at that point but are guilty pleasures) during online festivals. But I shop for formals or jeans whenever I require,” said Paul.
Like Ghosh, Paul too, has stalled some electronic purchases for the upcoming festive season. “This year I’ve bought a Bluetooth speaker, an online streaming device, a pair of earphones, couple of blazers and jackets. In the upcoming online festival, I am planning to buy an I-pad and related accessories,” he added.
However, Paul admits having overspent and falling prey to these lucrative offers. While he spends around ₹3,000 to ₹4,000 during festive offers, the number has shot up by thousands with a lot of over-spending in the past. “The portable Bluetooth speaker for instance, was a guilty pleasure, because I had a speaker and it was not essential to buy a new one at all,” said Paul.
Reasons for heavy discounts vary. “E-commerce websites try to make the most of the festival momentum to gain more traffic or they may have over-ordered inventory that they may want to clear,” said Devangshu Dutta, founder, Third Eyesight, a retail and consumer goods consulting firm. Reasons for heavy discounting can also depend on the state of the economy.
“Currently the automobile sector is not doing well. So a lot of the related products are witnessing sluggish sales and companies are trying to use heavy discounting to clear the inventory,” said Dutta.
It is easier and faster to surf through websites and find the best deal whereas when it comes to something like white shirts, there is more than one variety available so it is difficult to know if you are being over-charged. “The only way you can play smart is by being able to differentiate between what you need and what you want,” said Dutta.