Smartphones, gold, electronics, and more – what India is buying online this Diwali


Indian shoppers online have always been loyal to discounts and deals, and ecommerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and others have not disappointed their customers this Diwali.

With the festive season well and truly upon us, Indian etailers are giving customers a reason to celebrate with whopping discounts, never-before deals, and easy payment options. It’s interesting to see who will win the online Diwali discount war. In this golden season for ecommerce, giants like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal have already announced a “third wave” of bumper sales. While Flipkart started its 'Big Diwali Sale' on November 1, rival Amazon kicked offa day later, announcing the Great Indian Sale on the midnight of November 2. Both players will be ending sales on November 5.

According to InMobi Pulse, festive spending in 2018 is set to grow, over one in three consumers will spend more than they did last year. Compared to last year, impulsive shopping has increased. Two in every five customers have indulged in impulsive shopping.

The Amazon advantage

Fashion, jewellery and home décor will be on top of the shopping list for Indians, with more people from small towns preferring to shop on Amazon, it adds. Amazon customers can take advantage of big deals on smartphones, large appliances and televisions, home and kitchen products, fashion, consumables such as grocery,beauty, and consumer electronics.

"Apart from witnessing the highest traction for categories like smartphones and fashion, consumables that include daily essentials and beauty, large appliances, TVs and Home & Kitchen have emerged popular this festive season. In fact, the first 36 hours of Wave 1 nearly surpassed the entire wave 1 of last year," says Manish Tiwary, VP (Category Management) for Amazon India.

Amazon claims to have sold twice as many as 32" TVs on Day 1 of the first Great Indian Festival as compared to what India usually buys in one day.

The ecommerce platform claims to have received one order from at least 99 percent of India's serviceable pincodes and has witnessed a 3x surge in Prime membership signups. Almost 50 percent of the customers purchased large appliances on EMIs in the Great Indian Festival. One in every four customers upgraded their refrigerators and washing machines through exchange offers.

"This festive season recorded over 60 percent new customer growth with more than 82 percent from lower tier cities which so far has exceeded our most aggressive plans," Manish adds.

New customers through the Hindi website launched a few months back grew by 2.4 percent over a normal business day during wave one of the Great Indian Festival.

Plenty of shoppers from beyond the metros

According to InMobi Pulse, Tier II cities led the pack with the highest spending this festive season, showing 60 percent more willingness to spend Rs 1 lakh plus on festive shopping this season. Smartphones had their biggest season ever, with Xiaomi selling over one million devices in a day. OnePlus' recorded sales of over Rs 400 crore in a day.

Free delivery was offered to all first-time customers. Amazon's top deals are expected on its products - Fire TV Sticks and the newly launched third generation of Echo. The lower priced Echo Dot sold out within two days of Great Indian Festival’s Wave 1. Customers can avail 50 percent discounts on Alexa built-in devices, such as speakers and headphones. An annual subscription for Kindle Unlimited is available at Rs 1,488. Upto 80 percent off on home and kitchen products and up to Rs 25,000 discount on laptops was another great attraction.

Buying gold jewellery online is now more common

Besides the regular products, Amazon also has on offer the largest selection of gold and diamond jewellery, gold and silver coins this festive season. The platform has 22-carat gold festive collection from Senco, Malabar Gold, Joyalukkas, Candere by Kalyan Jewellers, Mia by Tanishq and PC Jeweller. Indiamonds, they have brands like MMTC, PAMP, Bangalore Refinery, and Kundan Gold for silver and gold coins.

What’s more, Amazon has completely waived off making charges besides offering an additional Rs 1,500 cashback.

Flipkart isn't far behind

Amazon's biggest competitor, Flipkart, wasn’t far behind in the online discounts war. According to Redseer Consulting, Flipkart captured the highest market share in the last phase of festive sales.

Day two of the five-day sale was the biggest in terms of gross merchandise volume (GMV), as it saw the launch of multiple new Flipkart-exclusive phones. Post the second day, however, growth stalled in terms of sales.

Similar trends have been observed in the past years and this clearly indicates that customers tend to buy before the sales start. In the last phase of the festive sale, Flipkart accounted for more than half of the GMV of the entire industry. GMV ratio of Flipkart to Amazon was 62:38. These higher sales by Flipkart was mostly driven by the sale of mobile phones and fashion verticals, which grew by 78 percent and 70 percent, respectively. Sales of consumer electronics sale increased only by 45 percent.

Snapping up the Snapdeal way

Snapdeal's three-day final Diwali sale, part of its Mega Diwali sale, began on November 2 and ran till November 4. Snapdeal is offering festive discounts on gold coins, Diwali lights and winter apparel. The ecommerce platform is also offering 'stock and save' on health supplements and pet food, and a clearance sale on toys, with minimum 50 percent discounts.

“The most popular items during the Snapdeal sale were sarees, bedsheets, beard trimmers, epilators, utensils, mixer grinders, headphones, Bluetooth speakers, pendrives, sunglasses, home security systems, men’s slippers, men’s watches, cleaning equipment like mops and refurbished phones," according to a spokesperson for Snapdeal.

E-fift cards for travel also made it to the list of top selling products. For the final Diwali sale, Snapdealis offering discounts of up to 20 percent on Cleartrip cards that can be used for hotel and flight bookings over the next 12 months.

Snapdeal's newly launched Dhanteras Store has jewellery from TBZ and Bluestone, gold and silver plated gifts, cookware, dinnerware, electronic appliances, mobile phones and tablets, all of these at up to 60 percent discount.

The platform claimed that users bought LED lights for home use as well as vehicle accessories. "Motorcycle handlebars were the most sold product in the LED category," the spokesperson adds.

Grabbing it through coupons

Besides availing huge discounts from e-tailers, customers are also using coupons to buy products at even cheaper prices. Online coupons and deals platform GrabOn has observed a significant growth in the number of coupons used during the Diwali period since 2015.

Based on its internal data points and insights, GrabOn has released an infographic illustrating consumer behaviour, in terms of coupon redemption and usage over the last three years, during Diwali.

While the recharge vertical enjoyed the maximum preference during the Diwali season, the percent of its usage has dropped, because of Reliance Jio stepping into the game. The travel and food segment, however, has seen a steady rise in coupon redemption rate. Data suggests that more people prefer ordering in during the festive season.

Based on GrabOn's infographic, Freecharge, Ola, Zomato, BookMyShow and Myntra are leading the game.

Online financial services platform Freecharge has come up with some deals for just Re 1. While it may be an all-out online war this Diwali, it’s clear that it’s the customer who’s the winner and taking it all!



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