What and why is changing the way people now shop?

Diwali was once the biggest shopping season for Indians. It is facing some serious competition these days. There’s something different when it comes to the manner in which Indian shopper approach Diwali; some would feel, there is a marked generational shift behind this trend. An insightful ET report by Malini Goyal mentions that about a decade or so ago, the period of Navratra-Diwali had a different shopping glow and feel to it. Here is a quick look at important factors changing the way people now shop.

  • Seasonal sale is the biggest trigger for her shopping spree. The case in point is that an IT executive from Gurgaon who had bought jeans for her son in the last season sale, well before the festive season set in. Companies across the board from paints to consumer electronics, from cars to clothing promote sales around the year, points out the ET report.
  • In consumer electronics, brands make a deliberate attempt to build marketing hype around new events that have sales potential. For example, Samsung has actively built on the soccer and cricket fever in India during the IPL and the football World Cup to push TV sales. This has had an impact on the launch calendar.
  • Indians previously shopped as a family. A busy life, varied tastes and a plethora of choices are changing that. Shopping in India had been a family event where everyone went out to shop. Two important triggers are changing this. With a hectic life, Indians are increasingly hard-pressed for time. Logistically it is a lot more difficult for the entire family to go out shopping together.
  • Individual shopping choices have become far more important and pronounced. Be it just a shampoo or something more expensive like a dress, a plethora of choices has made way for more individualized and specialized shopping. Shopping rights have become more and more spread out. Family is no longer the central controlling unit.
  • Convenience, good deals and reliable e-tailers are fuelling virtual shopping – an easy route to gifting. Every year, many families would begin shopping at least a month before Diwali and then send or personally deliver those gifts to their relatives and friends. Tied down by hectic work schedules, the modern couples opt to shop online, which offer them a good deal plus a wide variety to pick from, also saving them the headache of physical delivery.
  • According to Arvind Singhal, chairman, Technopak Advisors, 2012 would be the take-off year for online shopping in India. “The ecosystem is falling in place. Convenience and great deals are its biggest drivers,” he says in the ET report. Today, at $0.6 billion, e-tailing is just 0.1% of the total retail sales in India. But by 2020, according to Technopak estimates, it will grow to 7-8% of retailing industry and is likely to touch $65 billion in size. Diwali shopping should reflect the uptick. Almost all e-tailers have launched special campaigns.


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