New Delhi: Lured by heavy online discounts and easy home delivery of almost any product at the click of a button, shopping for Indians would never be the same again after 2014.
What was limited to books, gadgets and few accessories in the earlier years, now expanded to include apparel, kitchen items, consumer durables, high-end jewellery, furniture, or any other product you can think of buying over the internet. The big breakthrough in e-commerce came in October when the big three of Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal went into an overdrive to win customers and offered pre-Diwali sales with eye-popping discounts.
Gadgets like smartphones, tablets, laptops, computer peripherals, consumer electronics, etc were sold way below their market price. Flipkart claimed to have sold goods worth 100 million $(over Rs 600 crore) within 10 hours of its ‘Big Billion Day' on October 6 but disrungtled bargain hunters complained of technical glitches and cheating.
Snapdeal also pegged its sales figure to a similar amount while Amazon didn't disclose figures. In the past many used to research online about products and then buy it from a shop. Now the trend reversed as people walked into shopping malls to try which colour and size of clothes or shoes suit them best and then went home to get a good deal online. Consumers even in smaller cities joined the bandwagon as standalone shops noticed drop in sales.
To retain his customer base, a computer hardware seller in the small Howrah town of West Bengal put up this board outside his shop: “Why buy online? We will offer you a lower price”.