KOCHI: Shops and malls in the state which are bursting at the seams with festival shoppers are now getting stiff competition from the virtual world - the e-commerce websites. Shoptill- you-drop freaks are now increasingly logging on to the Rs 500-crore e-commerce market. Nearly 50-60 per cent of the total business is generated during Onam.
Though e-commerce sites are the favourite playground of those in the age group of 22-45, major players in the field said now people above 40 are hugely shopping online than youngsters as the latter want to hang out in malls and supermarkets.
Industry sources said during the Onam season, online purchase of goods increased by 80 per cent compared to normal days. To milk the opportunity to the hilt, high-ranking e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, Jabong and its local replica, Giftbig.com, whatznear. com and retailers like Nandilath and QRS have made many online offers which the customer cannot refuse.
Moving a step ahead, Amazon has introduced Onam offers, that too in Malayalam, in terms of gift cards ranging from `500- `10,000. Onam offers on popular e-commerce sites range from 10 to 50 per cent. “We started operations four months ago. To tap the market during Onam season, we have started a special page too. The website generated 90 per cent of the business in the past 15 days. Our initial target was those in the age group of 20-30 years.
Interestingly, people above the age group of 40 years have become our customers. They availed online exchange offers more,” said Krishnendu, chief executive officer, whatznear. com. Home and kitchen appliances are the hot choices this season, he said.
“The online channel clocked 80 per cent growth this season compared to last year. Online gift cards are a huge hit among NRK customers.
People working outside Kerala have opted for gift cards for their family members back home, which include cards for grocery items too.
Amazon India has launched Onam-specific gift card designs this season. Consumers can gift the cards with values ranging from `10 to `10,000 to their dear ones. ‘’This season there is great demand for products in the fashion apparel, personal accessories and sports goods segment,” said T P Pratap, co-founder, Giftbig.com, an online gift card purchase website based in Bangalore. Kochi, Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam and Kozhikode clock 65 per cent of the total Kerala consumption in e-commerce, he said.
The growth rate of e-commerce in the state for the past three years has been 50-60 per cent.
“The market is now worth `500 crore and is expected to touch `750 crore by 2015. Flipkart, Jabong and Amazon are the popular websites. Among them, Amazon has made strides in the past four months,” said Rajesh Nair, vice-president, Ernst & Young, a consultancy.
E-commerce firms are able to give goods at a cheaper price than retailers as they make bulk purchases, said Mathew Moolepat, patron, All Kerala Distributors Association.
Areas where the e-commerce penetration is high in Kerala are Palakkad, Tripunithura, Muvattupuzha, Tirur, Manjeri, Perinthalmanna, Kannur, Kollam, Karunagapally and Tiruvalla, said industry officials.