Sales of smartphones, televisions, home appliances, apparel and fashion products went up 12-20% over last year’s Navratri period and there has been 8-12% growth in sales volume of electronic products.
The buoyant start to festive sales – which will continue till Diwali – comes after muted growth in sales for the last 6-8 months due to high inflation.
The flagship online festive sales by Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon saw strong growth in volumes this year during the first leg which lasted until the weekend, according to industry executives.
Flipkart has grown sales by over 25% as compared to last year during its just concluded Big Billion Days sale from September 23-30 clocking gross sales of around $5.5 billion during the first eight days, industry executives said. Rival Amazon reported robust growth, saying its sellers received more orders this festive season compared with last year, without commenting on the specifics.
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SoftBank-backed Meesho said it grew by 68% in order volumes this year.
“Things have picked up really well this year. There’s a lot of demand in fashion as well — a category that’s been under stress for a while due to Covid-19. Large categories like smartphones and appliances have grown too,” a senior industry executive exit.
Deepak Bansal, vice president at LG Electronics India, the country’s largest home appliance maker, said there has been revival of demand during Navratri period including for entry-level products whose sales were falling for the last few months, signaling revival of sentiments across consumer segments .
After two waves of Covid-19, the desire to improve ‘fitness quotient’ among people is also leading to the sports attire segment growing about 50-60% year-on-year, said Abhishek Ganguly, MD, Puma India.
“People are stepping out, people are going for holidays, people are doing more outdoor activities… marathons are back and our category grows on the back of it,” he said, adding that the sales growth are similar across both online and offline channels.
Satyen Momaya, chief executive officer at Celio, a French apparel brand, said the start to the season right from Onam in Kerala to Durga Puja has been very strong. “In fact, Durga Puja sales in the east were the highest ever with revenue growth of over 30% and strong footfalls. We expect this to continue till Diwali,” he said.
In the smartphones segment, industry executives said sales have bounced back led by heavy online discounting in Apple’s iPhones, 5G phones, mid-and-premium segment. Market tracker Counterpoint Research said the buoyant start will boost overall sales by 12-15% year-on-year in the entire festive season. The researcher said it is confident after Navratri sales that the industry will meet its forecast of $7.7 billion smartphone sales during festive season, the highest ever.
“The pent-up demand after months of slow sales played up during the festive period, buoyed by good deals boosting business in the last 10 days. One out of every three smartphones sold were 5G models,” said Tarun Pathak, research director at Counterpoint .
Unicommerce, an ecommerce enablement firm, estimates overall ecommerce reported sales to grow by 35% on a year-on-year basis during the first leg of festive season sales, with the personal care and electronic segment reporting more than 60% growth over the last year. This excludes data for smartphone sales.
Brands like Thomson, Kodak, Blaupunkt, Westinghouse reported 80-100% growth in sales, wearable brand Noise grew sales by almost five times, Acer television sold out its inventory while Compaq television reported 100% growth. Electronic retail chains like Vijay Sales and Great Eastern Retail also reported growth in sales volume which was impacted for several months.
Noise CEO Gaurav Khatri said last calendar year the industry shipped about 12 million units of smart wearables but this year the sales volume is expected to be about 30 million units, aided by festive season sales.
Brands have matched prices in offline stores with online offerings, after protest from brick and mortal stores, resulting in improvement of overall sales. For ecommerce, the first leg of the sale is the most crucial as 60-70% of the overall festive season sale happens during this period. Ahead of Diwali too, many big-ticket sales are planned.