This festive season, e-commerce platforms are betting big on Tier II and III markets, which are likely to contribute $150 million to e-commerce growth this year
E-commerce players are expecting new growth from Tier II, III and beyond this festiveUnsplash
E-commerce platforms line up bumper offers and huge discounts for the upcoming festive season to woo Tier II and III co...
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This festive season, e-commerce platforms are betting big on Tier II and III markets, which are likely to contribute $150 million to e-commerce growth this year

E-commerce platforms line up bumper offers and huge discounts for the upcoming festive season to woo Tier II and III co...
  • The festive season has always been important to brands, especially to e-commerce players who line up big bumper discounts, look for more retail brands to partner and ramp up their product offerings.
  • This festive season, e-commerce platforms are focusing on bringing more personalisation and curation to customers shopping online through greater tech and marketing integration.
  • More and more e-commerce platforms are also exploring social commerce, turning their apps into super apps by bringing content, products and trends under one roof for consumers to watch and shop at once.
  • With increasing internet penetration, e-commerce players are expecting new growth from Tier II, III and beyond this festive, which will cumulatively contribute to $150 billion of e-commerce as per RedSeer Consulting’s report.
  • We speak to India’s leading e-commerce players to find out more about their festive plans and revival expectations.
The year 2020 accelerated e-commerce industry, perhaps by a decade, revolutionising the way brands operate, run, and grow their businesses, as well as how consumers choose to shop and pay. In the initial months of the lockdown, businesses witnessed a clear shift in consumer behaviour. Historically offline shoppers also came online due to convenience and safety. Consumers are still hesitant to return to in-store shopping completely and audiences from Tier II and Tier III are also preferring to shop online. The pandemic has evidently caused an inflection point for e-commerce in the country.

With the second-largest internet user base, India has emerged as one of the most prominent markets globally. Around 480 million people in India have access to the internet out of which 90 million are online shoppers, according to estimates from management consultancy RedSeer. Shoppers from India’s small towns and cities will cumulatively contribute to $150 billion of e-commerce GMV in the coming decade, until 2030, revealed RedSeer.
This festive season, e-commerce platforms are betting big on Tier II and III markets, which are likely to contribute $150 million to e-commerce growth this year

After spending a glum year and a half, consumers are excited to celebrate the festive season with upcoming shopping sales for Diwali, Dussehra and Christmas. IPL and ICC T-20 World Cup will further improve consumer sentiment this year.

According to a survey conducted by The Trade Desk and YouGov, 82% of consumers shopped online at least once a month in the past six months, and nearly one in four made online purchases several times a week or more often. Titled ‘ The Festive Season Pulse 2021,’ it further said that 91% of Indian consumers are planning a purchase during the upcoming festive season and six in 10 are interested in learning about new brands during festive season sales.

To leverage this uptick in consumer sentiment, the e-commerce category is all set to begin its festive marketing blitz and is preparing to line up big discounts for the season in a few weeks.

For this 30-day period leading up to the festive season, leading fashion e-commerce platform Myntra has planned ‘Big Fashion Festival,’ which will be followed up with Myntra Diwali Sale, with a focus on ethnic wear. It will also be focusing on emerging categories like Beauty and Personal care, kidswear and categories such as innerwear and essentials which have experienced tailwinds post-Covid.

Myntra’s Chief Business Officer, Ayyappan Rajagopal said, “We are expecting this festive season to be bigger than last year with more customers using online channels to make their purchases. Demand usually peaks in the 30 days leading to Diwali and we expect this year to be no different. In fact, the demand in the 2 months leading to the festive season is expected to be far more than last time (because people have learnt with time to adapt to a pandemic world). We expect high demand from across geographies and markets - metros, Tier 1, Tier 2, T3 cities and beyond. To cater to that, we have built the right ethnic wear, beauty, and home selection, and have partnered with brands on best deals. Hence, to leverage this demand and provide best value to our customers, we are organizing Big Fashion Festival and Myntra Diwali Sale to make this season a resounding success.”

Right on the heels of the festive season, Myntra ramped up its marketing game by onboarding Hrithik Roshan, Vijay Deverakonda and Dulquer Salmaan as its newest brand ambassadors, alongside the existing celebrity ambassadors Kiara Advani, and Samantha Akkineni. Now, it is hoping to double its customer base and cater to Gen-Z shoppers with its high-decibel marketing.

“With the optimism coming from recovery from Covid and revival in shopping sentiments along with the habitualisation of digital foray across all customer segments, we see a lot of new customers shopping during this festive season. We have also seen trends in Metro/T1 markets where Myntra has been traditionally strong, pointing towards such a revival. With a positive overall sentiment, we will be looking at doubling our customer base during this period. There will also be an added focus towards expanding our footprint in southern markets, deeper penetration into Tier 2 / 3 towns and exploring customer addition through emerging categories like Kids wear, Inner wear, fashion accessories, Beauty and persona care, etc. The greatest focus will be on Gen-Z cohort of shoppers,” shared Rajagopal.

E-commerce platforms are also focusing on bringing more personalisation and curation to customers shopping online through greater tech and marketing integration. More and more e-retailers are exploring social commerce, turning their apps into super apps by bringing content, products and trends under one roof for consumers to watch and shop at once.

D2C fashion platform Bewakoof.com that recently raised Rs 60 crore in an investment round led by InvestCorp, IvyCap and Spring Marketing Capital, is expecting to Rs 120 crore in brand sales this quarter.

It recently rolled out celebrity-led digital campaigns with Rajkummar Rao, Sanya Malhotra and Farhan Akhtar. It plans to further build its market presence by signing more A-list celebrities to its roster and launch a 360-degree campaign by October. On the technology side, the company intends to launch a gamification-led loyalty program as it upgrades its Bewakoof Tribe with new and exclusive launches for the club members.

Sharing the platform’s festive plans further, Prabhkiran Singh, Founder CEO, Bewakoof.com said, “Post pandemic, we saw a strong recovery and growth in certain categories like casual wear and leisurewear because of customers staying at home and with the pandemic slowing down, we expect a strong recovery in categories like ethnic wear, bags, accessories, etc in the festive season ahead. We’re also looking to capitalise on winter wear more this year than usual with winter around the corner and have put in investments accordingly. We expect our brand sales to be Rs 120 crore for the festive quarter.”

For Bewakoof, the northern and western markets see the highest demand, followed by West Bengal and Assam because of Durga Puja.

Currently, over 6 million customers visit Bewakoof.com every month. Singh told us that the festive season serves as a crucial window in the year for new customer acquisition and bringing back customers that haven’t shopped again for a while. The platform is also planning on increasing its marketing spends this festive.

“For this year, 15% of our total marketing budget will be spent for the upcoming festive season.”

We’re in the process of rebranding Bewakoof in the next 1-2 months and we’ll have a new look, logo, tagline along with a new set of celebrities that will endorse Bewakoof so we’re excited to roll this out and create buzz around it along with backing it up with top-funnel marketing investments. We plan to go heavy on top-funnel marketing investments starting October,” said Singh.

E-retail platform OLX has upped its UI to woo its customers, digitising the entire process of online retailing, including verification of all its premium items. OLX Autos launched a verified inventory of cars with a new interface, which provides a detailed history of the car right from the ownership period all the way up to the service history of the car, and access to a host of financing options and after-sales products like insurance and warranty.

As a result, OLX has witnessed a surge in demand for pre-owned cars.

Sapna Arora, CMO, OLX India said, “Green shoots are already visible in the used car retail segment. The demand for pre-owned cars has been 25% higher than the pre-Covid levels while there has been an 82% plus growth in demand for pre-owned smartphones. Our goods category has also witnessed a strong rebound, as demand and supply have gone up by an average of 68% and 25%, respectively, compared to pre-Covid levels. The upcoming festival season is important for us as we expect the gap to be narrowing down between pre and post-Covid levels. There has been a strong uptake of e-commerce across regions, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, with consumers there making the greatest shift to online shopping. We will continue to focus on the pre-owned auto segment and are expecting to surpass the demand this festive season.”

At an industry level, Arora told us that e-commerce players are leveraging on hyper-personalisation to create individualised experiences on the platform and AI-powered chatbots are being implemented by the online retailers to bring customers close to an offline retail experience with a high engagement rate.

Sharing OLX’s plan, Arora added, “This festive season we plan to use innovative solutions via relevant messaging at different levels of the retail journey. Our consumer base is growing organically. During this year’s lockdown, a lot of people moved online and we saw growth, about 30% more daily active users (DAUs) from our previous pre-Covid peak. In the festive season, our huge inventories across segments will contribute to increasing the DAU’s on the platform.”

As per Nielsen India’s E-commerce Consumer Panel (E-Analytics Solution), there was a double-digit increase in average spend of online shoppers for electronics and accessories (39%), mobile and accessories (12%), and fashion, including apparel, footwear, and accessories (10%) after the pandemic. Appliances (e.g.TV, WM, refrigerators, etc.) also saw notable shopper spending increase at 9%.

E-commerce giant Amazon is also ramping up its product range for the festive season.

“Together with thousands of small & medium business and brand partners, we continue to offer our customers the widest selection, convenience, and fast delivery. We are humbled by how millions of Indian customers have made us a part of their daily lives. Also, customers continue to believe that online shopping is the safest way to shop which has been reflecting in all the recent events of Amazon like Prime Day 2021, Great Freedom Festival, Rakhi Store, Onam store and so on. This festive season is not a normal one for reasons we all know and our success metric would be focused on how we can make our sellers successful. Customers can look forward to shopping from a wide selection of products across categories like Home & Kitchen, Fashion & Beauty, Appliances and Smartphones, Grocery essentials and more from the comfort and safety of their homes," said an Amazon India spokesperson.

This growth trajectory of e-commerce platforms in India testifies how customers are increasingly recognising the importance of comfort shopping within closed doors, and after seeing their businesses take a plunge in the first three months of the lockdown, more and more sellers are also coming online.