If there is one segment of the economy that is booming, it is e-commerce. Amazon, which has just completed its Prime Day sales, has claimed the value of goods that were delivered via online shopping surpassed its last year’s Diwali sales on a per-day comparison. The company said nearly one lakh sellers received orders, and it is estimated sales surpassed Rs 4,000 crore. Competitor Flipkart, now owned by Walmart, made its own splash with its ‘Big Savings Day Sale’ from August 6 to 10, offering both deep discounts on individual products as well as deals on bundled packages.
The big-selling categories have been smartphones and consumer electronic products. Fashion wear has been booming on platforms such as Myntra that held its ‘End of Reason Sale’ in June. The lockdown and the fear of physical contact has changed many traditional shopping habits. In the beginning, e-commerce was delivering only essentials and pharma products, but as the government signalled the opening up of the economy from June, the product base on e-commerce sites expanded exponentially.
Amazon India’s CEO Amit Agarwal claims his paid subscribers have more than doubled and that 65% of his new subscribers were not from the Top 10 cities, showing an expanding base of e-retail shoppers. Initially, the supply lines and production were disrupted; but the e-retailers, as the pandemic wore on, quickly got their act together. Shopping trends now indicate it is not only the more expensive electronic goods and smartphone shoppers who are hooked to online ordering, but it is the daily necessity of groceries, and even the demands of gaming and entertainment that have moved online.
Of the approximate Rs 5.6 lakh crore the annual retail business generates, currently e-retailers account for only 3.5%. That’s a huge headroom for growth for those entrepreneurs who are smart enough to exploit the opportunity. The pandemic has created its own fears. Even after shopping malls have opened in many cities, there is hardly any footfall. All the pointers are in the direction of a growing preference for safe and hygienic shopping options.