THE ONLINE SHOPPING FRENZY IS SPREADING
THE ONLINE SHOPPING FRENZY IS SPREADING
There is growing demand for international brands such as H&M, Under Armour, and Mango, from tier 2 and tier 3 markets; e-tailers report 50% growth in sales from non-metros.
Debojyoti Ghosh

HOMEMAKER ADITI SINHA, who lives in West Bengal’s Berhampore, had never been keen on online shopping till this September. This time, on the occasion of Durga Puja, she decided to buy gifts for her extended family from online platforms. “I desperately wanted to avoid the last-minute rush at the stores and traffic on the road during the festive season,” she explains. “Also, it is hard to resist discounts and offers online. It doesn’t matter which online platform I’m shopping from.”

Sinha says, sitting in Berhampore she could select from an exhaustive catalogue “which local stores can’t offer”. There need not be fear of hiccups in exchanging or returning buys. “Today refunds happen within a day,” she says.

Sinha is one of many from tier 2 and tier 3 cities who are joining the cult of click shopping, persuaded by convenience, exhaustive inventory, attractive deals, and easy credit options. There is one more thing that has helped online platforms jack up sales from these parts, which they see as the turf for generating the next phase of growth: improved vernacular interfaces. The online shopping frenzy hits a crescendo in festive seasons and e-commerce platforms Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal leave no price unslashed in their endeavour to tap previously unexplored terrains despite deep dents to margins.

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December 2019