The upcoming festive season, beginning October 1 is likely to register record-breaking sales, revenues, and highest ever purchase rate per minute for e-commerce giants as most people deferred their purchasing plans during the fortnight of pitru paksha and are now ready to loosen purse strings, an ASSOCHAM survey-cum-analysis has noted.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) interacted with about 2,500 working professionals (almost equal number of male/female respondents) in the age group of 25-40 years from diverse sectors. These include - automobile, biotechnology, BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance), energy, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), information technology (IT), media and entertainment, pharmaceutical, real estate and others.
The ASSOCHAM had carried out the survey during the course of past fortnight across 10 prominent cities of - Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai to ascertain their shopping plans for the upcoming festive season.
"About 60 per cent of the total respondents said they are ready with their shopping lists and would prefer online shopping over standing long hours in store aisles, while most of the remaining opted for shopping at physical brick and mortar outlets," highlighted the survey conducted by the ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation.
Majority of respondents also said they are planning to splurge on lucrative deals and discounts offered by e-tailers on everything from apparels, appliances, cosmetics, jewellery, perfumes, shoes, electronic items like - mobiles, laptop, television, portable media players and others.
Ease of shopping, various delivery options, diverse payment modes, better offers and other such factors are key reasons highlighted by many respondents to shop online in the festive season starting with 'Navratri' in October followed by a string of festivals including Diwali and the festivities do not stop until new year.
"This is expected to be the busiest festive season for e-commerce companies as Indian consumers are likely to spend up to Rs 25,000 crore and more as against over Rs 20,000 crore spent in festive season last year thereby registering about 25 per cent growth," said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the chamber's survey-cum-analysis.
"Most of the e-tailers have already jumped on the bandwagon for running promotional offers like deep discounts, exclusive merchandise, cash-back schemes, and other such deals to cash in on festive season frenzy and have set off marketing campaigns to rake in maximum profits," said Mr Rawat.
"Besides, introduction of premium services like free shipping, extended return period and others together with rise of high-speed internet usage through smartphones are likely to boost online shopping this festive season and help the e-tailers to register profits after a dull first half of this year," he added.
As part of its analysis, ASSOCHAM had also sought opinions of various experts in the field of advanced research, analytics and digital intelligence services specialising in communications insights and community trends.
Many of these suggested various things like - the e-tailers must learn from the past and gear up to counter various challenges related to logistics, influx of visitors and avoid losing customers due to technical issues by taking all precautionary measures beforehand like investing in a larger server or cloud hosting service.
Besides easier website navigation together with higher levels of service and festive product categories and a responsive website will entice customers and is a great way to differentiate from competitors that may launch seasonal marketing campaigns and offer similar discounts.
E-tailers must ensure that stock levels are high, however running out stock is often unavoidable, but it should not hamper their relationship with customer by showcasing related products to them that could be of interest.
Ensuring that delivery dates are correct is another significant thing as customers want to be sure of the latest date and time they can order and be certain it will arrive in time. As such companies should provide the customers with multiple delivery options.