Diwali, the beautiful festival of lights, is one of those festivals that have several stories associated with it. From the arrival of Shri Ram to Ayodhya to Lakshmi Poojan; and from Bandi Chhor Diwas to Kali pooja – there are many religious reasons for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists to celebrate this five day festival. Interestingly, this religious festival is prosperous and auspicious for every single person across the country. If you see the history of the Diwali festival season, it marks the biggest spike in the sales across the nation irrespective of caste, religion, and race. It does not matter if you sell services or goods. The festival season will bring business for you directly or indirectly.
I will discuss everything I have observed in the past few years during the Diwali season in terms of the Indian economy minus the technical jargon. Before these E-commerce websites became a thing in India, local markets ruled the Diwali economy. Every business, no matter how small, wanted to make money during this festival. Markets across the country got chocked with boards and banners displaying discount offers. Then came Flipkart, followed by Snapdeal and the international E-commerce giant Amazon. Other famous online retail stores that made their mark were Nykaa, Myntra, Jabong, Lenskart and such. While these stores are genre-specific like fashion, beauty, etc., websites like Amazon deal in almost everything from appliances to mobile recharge.
Why are E-commerce websites booming?
Most of us do not have time or patience to go out and shop in chaotic, crowded markets. Everything that you want to buy for Diwali is available on Amazon, and you can complete the shopping in 30-40 minutes. Moreover, everything is available at discounted rates. Everything gets delivered at your doorstep. Do we need any other reasons to step out now?
We are so busy in our social media life that we reject the idea of going out for anything. And this is what makes these one-stop websites base for everything. Do you need oil for cooking? Head to Amazon or Big Basket. Do you need to buy jeans? Head to Amazon, Jabong, Myntra, or Flipkart. Do you want to buy gifts for Diwali? Head to Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm Mall, Myntra, Ali Express, or online stores of any brand you like. Nowadays, every single one of them has online stores.
There is a new shop opened close to my house that has its online grocery store, and its name is a url! Such names and ideas are the impacts of the internet, E-commerce and demand of the online marketplace. The online markets are still raw, and there is so much scope for improvement. But still, the current status of the E-commerce world is a win-win situation for every stakeholder; especially in India.
Impact of E-commerce websites on Diwali economy
In recent sales, Amazon and Flipkart combined sold products worth 19,000 crores in just five days. Small scales online retailers are also offering huge discounts on merchandise, gadgets, groceries, and even medicines. The tug-of-war between the offline and online retailers has become a goldmine for customers, and we are getting as much as 90% discount on lakhs of products across countless categories.
E-commerce indeed has some impact on the offline market, but you need to understand that the size of the Indian retail is around $800 billion; and the E-commerce share is close to $33 billion at this moment. There are around 120,000 sellers active on Amazon India alone. So who are these one lakh twenty thousand people? Interestingly, most of them are the shops close to your home who are now registered sellers on websites like Amazon and Flipkart.
Scope for the offline retailers in E-commerce
India has around 14 million small and medium scale retailers operating in the market. Every single one of them tirelessly waits for the Diwali season to make some extra money. But now, according to them, the online eCommerce stores are killing their business. In reality, only a small percentage of the business has shifted to online retailers, and the offline stores are making profitable sales during the festival season.
However, there is scope for them to increase their sales by several folds. The key is to join E-commerce. As soon as they go online, the whole ecosystem will be available at their disposal. But for that, they need to learn a little bit about technology and may have to hire someone who can manage their online marketplace even if it is on Amazon.
It might be the denial in the mind of the Indian offline retailers, or they might not want to come out of their comfort zone that is stopping them from joining the revolution named e-commerce. While they can only handle 10-15 customers at a time at their offline stores, at the same time 100s if not thousands of customers can place an order with them.
Unfortunately, offline retailers are forcing the Government to stop E-commerce websites from having sales during the festival season. The right step for the government would have been to teach them how to become technologically literate and how to get their business online. On the contrary, Minister Sahab wants the websites to stop giving discounts. After all, it is the power of the vote bank. The difference is a few lakh sellers in the E-commerce industry to 14 million sellers in the offline retail market.
I sincerely hope in the coming years the offline retails will become aware of the fact that they have to run with the fast moving technology to survive. It does not matter how old your business is, if it is not technologically advanced, it will die soon. Take the example of Nokia. They failed to acknowledge the arrival of Android in the market and killed themselves with their arrogance. The business world in today’s time is ruthless. And it does not spare anyone. If you are not selling your products online, by next festival season, make sure you join at least one E-commerce platform.
India has a huge retail market. The major share is under offline retail shops, but E-commerce is growing fast. And it may reach the $200 billion mark in the next few years. For customers, everything is available online. During Diwali sales, the buyers have generously bought products worth billions from the E-commerce websites. The online retailers have made huge profits, and it is not going to stop anytime soon. For the customers, products are available at a discounted price, and they can get everything right on the doorsteps.
In short, it is a win-win situation for every stakeholder in the online world. The sooner offline retailers understand the power of E-commerce, the quicker they will be able to take back the lost market share by joining the bandwagon.