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Online sales are expected to increase as more customers shop online after the pandemic

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  • The pandemic has changed the way Indians shop, with more than 78% of consumers preferring to shop online before checking out convenience stores.
  • While Indians speak for local, 96% of consumers expressed a desire to shop from Indian brands this holiday season, fueling the growth of e-commerce.
  • Huge pent-up demand and high consumer purchasing power have driven e-commerce sales in India post pandemic.

The pandemic has changed the way Indians shop as 78% of consumers, according to industry estimates, prefer to shop online through electronic commerce platforms before checking out their convenience stores. Indians spent nearly five hours a day on their
mobile phones last year, an increase of nearly 30% from pre-Covid levels. Consumers from Tier 2 and 3 cities have also joined the online shopping bandwagon since the pandemic, further increasing sales for e-commerce platforms.

Capitalizing on the trend, online commerce players expect $11.8 billion in revenue this holiday season — up 28% from last year, the latest said.
Shopify Festive Shopping Outlook report. Businesses usually hold as many as three sales leading up to the festival of Diwali. Huge pent-up demand and high consumer purchasing power have boosted e-commerce sales in India.

In the first week of celebrations alone, which began Sept. 22, the ecommerce platforms achieved $5.7 billion in revenue with 75-80 million online shoppers, a Redseer report revealed. Even with inflation concerns, more than 40% of customers are willing to spend more than ₹10,000 on shopping this holiday season, Shopify claimed.

According to Bharati Balakrishnan, director of Shopify, India, “85% of consumers plan to spend more than ever before and 8-in-10 consumers are now shopping more online than before the pandemic. For brands, participating online through their own website is now a given as consumers switch to online browsing before going to the convenience store.”

More than 57% of customers cited browsing online stores, product comparison sites and scrolling through social media apps as ways to discover new products. Among e-commerce companies flip card led online retail sales in terms of GMV, or gross trade value, while Amazon came in second, for celebratory sales the week of September 22-30. Flipkart was also a leader in terms of order volumes, Meesho emerged as the second largest, capturing 21% of the market.

Fashion leads, while home decor, athleisure and dry fruits are strong contenders


More than 81% of consumers bought clothes and accessories, while 68% spent on household electronics and gadgets, Shopify India reports. More than 56,000 cell phones per hour were sold during the sales period of the first week of celebrations alone.

The gift-giving spirit is also reflected in the increased sales of dry fruits, candies and chocolates, according to Shopify estimates. “With people welcoming guests and going out, the focus will be on improving/upgrading their lifestyles and interiors, reflecting increased spending on fashion, beauty and home and living categories,” said Redseer Consultants.

The shift to healthy living after the pandemic has made the sports and leisure market the fastest growing category in both apparel and footwear. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16% between FY20-FY25, according to analysis by BK Securities. Online shoe sales alone have increased by 10% since the pandemic as India Inc returns to their offices.

Another emerging trend is the rise of sustainable shopping as more than 67% of consumers expressed an interest in buying socially and environmentally responsible brands, Shopify claimed.

More Indians are turning to local brands and businesses for their shopping needs. More than 96% of consumers expressed a desire to shop from Indian brands this holiday season.

“The government’s call to support local businesses and the growing consumer pride in Indian brands can be cited as the key factors contributing to this shift,” said Shopify India.

Tier 2, Tier 3 cities fueling India’s post-pandemic retail growth story

India’s retail growth story is currently centered on India’s ever-evolving Tier 2 and 3 cities. Consumers living in rural areas or remote areas are gradually opting for online shopping over market hopping, Shopify reports.

This was also reflected in the festive sale of Meesho, an e-commerce platform that currently dominates the Tier 2 and 3 markets in India and accounts for a majority of the order volume during the first week of celebration, according to a Redseer report.

Shoe brands such as Bata India, Relaxo shoes, Metro brands identify Tier 2 and 3 markets with high retail expansion potential.

“Going forward, Tier II and lower cities, which represent 35% of the total footwear market, are expected to see faster growth due to the low levels of penetration and the increasing level of ambition of the people,” claimed BK Securities.

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