Meesho.com’s annual festive sale kicks off on 23rd September. The event last year saw over 80pc orders coming from tier 2 markets and beyond.
Megha Agarwal, CXO, Growth, Meesho, says, “We aim to go deeper into India’s underserved regions this year and expect more new-to-ecommerce customers to shop on our platform this festive season.”
The growth beyond tier-1 is not surprising for a player like Meesho, whose stated aim is to ‘fuel discoverability of a wide assortment of products at the lowest prices for consumers’, addressing an aspirational ‘Bharat’. It has witnessed a 2.5x increase in users August 2021, with 125 million unique users having transacted on Meesho in the last 12 months. Its active product listings have jumped from 1.6 crore in October 2021 to 6.5 crore in September 2022.
“As a horizontal platform, we are expecting a strong surge in categories like fashion, home and kitchen, furnishings, consumer electronics and accessories,” says Agarwal, on expectations from the 2022 festive season.
At the other end of the spectrum is luxury. A Tata CLiQ Luxury spokesperson says the current growth trajectory indicates that consumer sentiments are positive, and that they are willing to purchase luxury goods online.
“On the platform, we are seeing a surge in demand from T2-4 markets as well, apart from metro and Tier 1 cities,” notes Mohua Das Gupta, Head – Marketing, Tata CLiQ Luxury.
She adds, “We are aiming for a 100 percent higher growth rate than last year during the festive season.”
The e-com player from the Tata group will expand its portfolio adding new brands and products in fashion, accessories, Indian luxury, and designer wear.
“Gifting as a category has grown tremendously. There is a growing demand and interest in gifting luxury products to loved ones for any occasion or simply to commemorate relationships! Given the festive season is also the season of gifting, we are expecting categories which are ideal for gifting, such as watches, jewellery, and handbags, to do very well,” explains Das Gupta.
Amazon.in, whose ‘Great India Festival’ claims to offer India’s largest selection across electronics, grocery, fashion and beauty and everyday essentials, is also hopeful of a buoyant festive season.
“Today, 65pc of our customer orders and 85pc of new customers on Amazon.in and 50pc of our million-plus sellers come from tier 2/3 cities and towns,” said the company in an e-mailed response to Medianews4u.com.
Sustaining the online surge
2020 and 2021 admittedly accelerated the growth of e-commerce as offline retail was challenged by the pandemic.
“At Tata CLiQ luxury, we saw a significant revenue increase, with 60 to 70pc growth compared to pre-pandemic levels,” reveals Das Gupta.
“This year, the festive season makes a comeback after two years, with offline retailers operating in full swing. However, we have been seeing a healthy growth trajectory, and given the kind of reach and access we have been able to build and establish, we are looking forward to aggressive growth,” she adds.
Tata CLiQ’s spends in the festive period will be higher than the rest of the year, aligned with revenue targets.
Anuraag Gambhir, Managing Director, ShopClues.com, notes that the 2020 festive season was amongst the best in the history of the company.
The inflow of new customers due to the pandemic was at an all-time high, explains Gambhir. Shopclues saw a 100pc growth in new customers during the festive period. During Diwali 2020, a lot of new sellers also came on to the platform because offline retailers, who were unable to run their physical stores during the pandemic, had to take their business online.
“Diwali 2021, however, was an altogether different story. The Delta variant came exactly a year after the first lockdown and wreaked havoc. Once the Delta-related restrictions were lifted, people, who were fed up of being locked in for months, were excited to step out and shop in the offline stores as well. So, Diwali 2021 saw only a 20pc increase over the previous month which was lower than our Diwali 2020 numbers,” he notes.
Gambhir believes that this festive season consumers are eager to shop both online and offline.
For Shopclues, around 25 percent of its marketing spends are earmarked for the 30 days before Diwali.
“It is a good period for new customer acquisition and attracting first-time buyers. However, since the overall market increases during this period, all competition websites increase their spends and overall marketing efficiencies do take a hit during this time as well.” he opines.
Born in the pandemic
And then there are newer brands that were born in the times of the pandemic, right in time for the festive season.
Among them is Saaki, a fashion and lifestyle brand launched in association with actor Samantha Ruth Prabhu, launched in September 2020. The brand is available on Saaki.co and marketplaces.
Sushruti Krishna, Co-Founder, Saaki, says, “It was exactly a month before Dusshera. The launch momentum and festive shopping intent gave us a very good start.”
She adds, “There was definitely a migration of customers online during the pandemic. Fashion businesses saw a good benefit even with intimate celebrations because buying new clothes for festivals has been an integral part of the way we celebrate in India.”
While the festive season starts earlier, Dusshera and Diwali tend to be the biggest festivals with purchase intent at the highest, notes the Co-founder.
“We will be spending almost 40pc higher in the festive months as compared to the non-festive months. As compared to last year, we have definitely increased, also because we’ve seen our business growing quite strongly even in the non-festive months. Hence, we want to make the most of this festive intent to scale even further,” adds Krishna.
Another brand that took off around the same time was Ed-a-Mamma, in October 2020.
Iffat Jivan, Business Head, Ed-a-Mamma, says, “Offline stores were non-functional at that point and there was a drastic shift towards e-commerce. The festive season in 2020 and 2021 was a respite for most shoppers since the pandemic had almost eaten into two precious years. Established e-commerce portals saw a huge surge in sales and the offline stores/brands that did not have an online presence were caught off guard. Ed-a-Mamma registered phenomenal growth with a 10x growth in year two of operations.”
Brands like Saaki and E-a-Mamma too will be looking to make the most of the current festive season.
“With brands competing for higher impression share during festive season, in general we spend relatively higher during major festive/holiday season,” notes Jivan.
Big or small, e-commerce players will be scaling up their game in the hopes of consumers opening up their wallets with festive frenzy.