Wednesday 2 March 2016

Holidays, Events & Occasions that impact ecommerce sellers in India

With every burgeoning year, the Indian ecommerce Industry gets better and better. At the forefront of this phenomenon, is the spike in sales during the festive sale period which coincides with many traditional holidays and events. While festivals and holidays take place throughout the year in India, the October to December period is widely considered the festive sales period, as it fits in nicely with a lot of celebrated holidays, like Diwali.
As online sellers it is very important to forecast for busy holiday sale periods and plan accordingly to ensure enough inventory is available to meet demand. It is also essential to execute effective promotional campaigns to make sure you get your message across in time, as there is a lot of cash up for grabs.

So just how much money changes hands during the busy festive period?

In October 2015, before the festive sales sprang into action an insightful ASSOCHAM reportproclaimed that this year’s festive season would cross $8 billion, 5 times bigger than the previous year. It also included 5 Indian festivals in no particular order that would contribute to the total:
  • > Diwali
  • > Navratri
  • > Durga Puja
  • > Dusshera
  • > Christmas
  • The biggies’ take on festival sales

    The recent festive season was dominated by Flipkart’s ‘Big Billion Days sale’, Snapdeal’s ‘Yeh Diwali Dil ki Deal Wali’ sale and Amazon’s ‘Great Indian Festive Sale’. It is very interesting to read what the big 2 homegrown ecommerce marketplaces had to say about holiday sales in 2013, a year before their respective festive sales exploded.
  • So how did the Marketplaces get on during the recent festival period

  • n 2014 the big marketplaces suffered from inexperience in dealing with massive orders, which caused server problems and delivery issues. Thankfully in 2015 they were better prepared. For instance in 2014, Flipkart’s Big Billion Day sale was carried out on one single day, but in 2015 it spread the Big Billion Days sale over 5 days as it chased a target of Rs. 3,250 crores sales. In comparison, ambitious marketplace Shopclues announced a target of Rs. 1,600 crores for the festive period.
    For all three marketplaces the month of October generated the most traffic. This however does not tell the whole picture as Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale was app-only in 2015 which means traffic would have been even higher.
    Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale and Amazon’s Great Indian Festive Sale were conducted from the 13th to 17th of October, while Snapdeal chose to promote a different category every Monday during its ‘Yeh Diwali Dil ki Deal Wali’ sale. Amazon took advantage of Navratri festival which fell on 13th to 22nd October last year and held its Great Indian Festival Sale, which also coincided with Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale. This IOS article gives a glance at the busy 5 day sale period of the big marketplaces. The marketplaces also created many opportunities for online sellers which was pleasing to see.

    What Online Sellers and experts had to say about ecommerce festivals?

    We asked online sellers their opinion on which 5 festivals and holidays impact ecommerce in India, based on their experience in the industry. This is what they had to say:
  • We can clearly see from these online sellers opinions that there are quite a number of different occasions that sellers can promote their products and services to increase sales.

    Is it festive holidays that sellers should be planning for?

    While giving his views on the most important ecommerce events in the calendar, Category Manager, Devashish Naik from Multi-channel ecommerce solutions provider, Browntape, explained that it is actually the pre-sales period that sellers should plan for.
  • Are all festive events relevant for sellers?

    Naik’s Browntape colleague, Category Manager, Minaz Sajan voiced similar sentiments and went on to add that while major holidays are important it is also imperative for sellers to realise that not all holidays sales will be relevant for their product.
  • What opportunities exist Globally for Indian Online Sellers?

    From the above statements, what is intriguing is the fact that events such as Valentine’s Day, Black Friday & Cyber Monday which are not considered traditional events in India, are slowly creeping into the shopping calendar. This Business Insider article ranks Diwali in 3rd place among the global ecommerce holidays so we are now coming full circle:
    1. Valentine’s Day
    2. Black Friday & Cyber Monday
    3. Diwali
    4. Chinese New year
    5. Japan’s Summer Bonus season
    6. Only recently we saw the success of Valentine’s Day in India which achieved on average bigger ticket size purchases than Diwali. Also last year we witnessed eBay hosting anextended Black Friday sale in the country to entice Indian Shoppers.
      This also works out well for Indian sellers as there are now opportunities to take part in global selling events. For example during the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales in the US, the Amazon Global Seller Program allowed Indian Sellers to participate by stocking up on their products in advance. Items that might be snapped up by Indian NRI’s in the US such as traditional clothing got priority as there is a big market for non-resident Indians abroad attempting to keep traditions alive.
      Mind you not all Global sales will be successful. As more events compete for a share of the consumer’s wallet, some will succeed while others will perish. Take for instance in 2015,Google wound down its Great Online Shopping Festival, while on the other hand Alibabathrew caution to the wind and went out and broke the online shopping record on Singles Day.

      Great opportunities ahead for sellers

      To conclude with we have identified 3 key opportunities for Indian Online Sellers in regards to prosperous ecommerce shopping festivals:

      1.Traditional Indian Holidays

      With an exceedingly high number of traditional holidays being celebrated in India, which includes everything from Pongol to Raksha Bandhan, there are certainly a lot dates for online sellers to ponder over. Paytm even mentioned the contribution of the Indian Wedding seasonto its sales.

      2.Marketplace Events

      The rise of Marketplace events such as Flipkart’s Big Billion Days Sale to coincide with Navratri and Myntra’s ‘End of Reason Sale’ to follow the end of a fashion season, have struck a chord with shoppers and sellers alike.

      3.Global Occasions

      Global Occasions like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also providing great scope for Indian online sellers to trade across borders. To put things in perspective, currently the Indian Festive season is worth $8 billion, while in the US it has touched $69 billion.
      The important thing for Online sellers to keep in mind, is to recognise which sales will suit your products and then go out and plan for them like there is no tomorrow!

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