Diwali lights the hearts of Online portals as sales spur

MUMBAI: The Diwali fervour is over and it's time now to count the dough. The members of the Internet and Online Association (IOA), that was set up earlier this year, have led the way way with record sales in mobile handsets, diamond fashion jewelry earrings and handycams.

IOA today announced an achievement of a dramatic 345,000+ transactions with an aggregate value of Rs 530+ million for online sales this Diwali. The whopping increase in sales can be attributed to improved ecommerce sites, internal search facilities and targeted promotions.



IOA president Preeti Desai said, "The fact that the online channel is shifting from browsing to "order" has disrupted the Indian marketing universe and we clearly see two key trends impacting ecommerce growth rates - one a growing and maturing online shopper base due to increasing trust, supported by better shopping experience and great deals and secondly - Traditional marketers experimenting successfully with sales online. Its mandatory for the marketer to sharpen their multi-channel strategies, as the multi-channel shopper is estimated to spend two to three times the amount of single channel shoppers."



Some interesting eCommerce statistics for Diwali 2004 are as follows:

    Revenues have risen an almost 250 per cent as the sales were at Rs 210 million last year as compared to Rs 530+ million this year.

    Nearly 2,30,000+ Indians made purchases online this Diwali across more than 3,45,000 transactions. The average transaction value was Rs 1535 and the average value per ecommerce shopper was Rs 2300.

    Shoppers are still price conscious and practical - Their Diwali shopping ranged from as little at Rs 1 to as high as Rs 100,000.

    At the category level, the leading favorites were consumer electronic products, mobile phones and accessories, jewelry and watches, apparel and gift certificates.

    Consumers also bought big-ticket items and the sheer diversity of the gifts purchased is an eye opener with products ranging from home theatre systems, microwaves, crackers and digicams to special Diwali hampers and sweet-meats like dry-fruits, diyas, silver coins, diamond jewelry and the Discover Knowledge series.

    Across various member sites the most active online shopping days were 8- 9 November, which saw a dramatic surge in transactions. Commendably 8 November being a Monday was one of the busiest days which is a sharp contrast to the rest of the year as traditionally Monday is a weak day for online transactions.

    Recorded Ecommerce high points were between noon and 3 pm, during employee lunch breaks.

    This year most retailers were expecting a high double-digit increase over last year... as they were better prepared not only with promotions, consumer (buying) patterns, but also with complete control over fast responsiveness to customer inquiries, to fulfillment and express delivery.

    More revenue is seen to come in from repeat buyers and the e-tailers are beginning to realize the "fruits of their labor" in the form of increased customer loyalty, as seen this season,

    Six million unique online visitor sessions were recorded during 8 - 12 November with an average session time of 8.7 mins!!



Interestingly, not only have the known shopping sites benefited from the increase in festival online shopping, businessmen and women from all across the country have scored!

IOA members also report that online shoppers are increasingly coming from all walks of life. Less than 22 per cent of this year's online Diwali purchasers were female, and slightly more than 76 per cent are between 25-45 years of age.

Diwali is also a time when the light Internet users often make their first online purchase and many of these new online buyers are early adopters who are attending college and have their first credit cards.

The IOA reported that the most valuable Internet segment was the 'At-Work Audience'.

Branded products have done a lot better than expected and this year will be better remembered by the strong presence of many traditional offline brands like the following:

    Consumer Electronics - Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Onida, Phillips, IFB, Pioneer, Kodak;

    Jewelry, watches & luxury products - Titan, Swatch, Timex, Casio, Citizen, Tanishq

    Mobile Handsets & Accessories - Nokia, Samsung, LG, Motorola

    Apparel - Arrow, Wranglers, Lee, Excalibur, Louis Phillips, Allen Solly

    Gift Certificates - Sodexho, Wills Lifestyle, The Raymond Shop, Big Bazaar, Louis Phillips, Allen Solly, Peter England, Pantaloons

    Computers & Peripherals - HP, Samsung, LG, Zenith,

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