Begin typing your search...

How shoppers going for bargain hunting online

India’s 2020 festive season expected to generate $6.5 bn in online sales

How shoppers going for bargain hunting online

How shoppers going for bargain hunting online 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Every year across much of the world, the same signs of an incoming festive holiday emerge, usually just after Halloween or towards the end of November. Down come the autumnal decorations and up go the stars, snowflakes, angels, and snowmen. As one of the most significant dates in the Gregorian calendar, Christmas has always been heralded with great fanfare and celebration since the middle Ages. During the bleak midwinter, it's a time to celebrate and feast with friends and family.

It's also a time of year when businesses tend to see a massive upswing in their profits, as people rush out to buy decorations, food, and gifts. The commercialisation of Christmas is something that has been marking the holiday for over a century now and shows little signs of diminishing. Indeed, many would say that the business of Christmas has completely overtaken the occasion.

So, how did the Christmas market go from a few wooden stalls in the town square outside the local church, to a multibillion-dollar international phenomenon?

Christmas has long been associated with feasting, joviality, and merriment, in which celebrants decorate their homes with holly, take part in religious processions, and loudly sing hymns. While Puritan and Presbyterian communities long tried to ban its practice, citing it as a papist innovation or pagan superstition, it continued to be celebrated across the Christian world through to the modern era.

While many aspects were already formed by this point, it was Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and the example of Queen Victoria and the British Royal Family that first cemented the idea of the holiday being a family-orientated occasion dedicated to gift giving, family gatherings, games, and dinners. Prince Albert brought to the British Isles the concepts of Christmas trees from Germany – German American communities having already brought the practice to America – and illustrated images of the Royal Family celebrating Christmas together quickly popularised the holiday across the Western world.

It was by the middle of the 19th century that the idea of Santa Claus being fixed as an enigmatic and jolly man who delivered presents to good girls and boys each Christmas Eve, popularised by A Visit by St Nicholas in 1823. Initially, Christmas celebrations were restricted to the well-to-do, with Christmas trees, roast turkey or goose, and gifts of toys and candy being a rarity for most people. This all changed over the course of the 20th century, which saw increased wealth among families and more capital to spend on the Christmas season.

The commercial aspects of Christmas crystalized in the economic boom of the 1950s, as newfound affluence allowed people to truly make Christmas a time to splash out and enjoy themselves. Every family could now put up a Christmas tree and decorations in their home, buy gifts for friends and family, and enjoy a full Christmas dinner with roast turkey and all the trimmings.

The occasion has only grown since then, as businesses seek to capitalise on the Christmas season.

According to Forbes, retailers in America can expect to make $1trillion from Christmas sales, accounting for one quarter of their yearly profits.

National Retail Association, meanwhile, estimates a much more modest—yet not unimpressive—figure of nearly $500 bn In the UK, it's estimated by the Bank of England that the average household will spend up to £800 extra in the months leading up to Christmas, usually on food, drink, and presents, totalling up to £19bn.

Most retailers rely on Christmas sales to give their finances that much needed final push through to the end of the financial year, and it's typically around this period that they'll see the biggest intake. Many will therefore offer numerous Christmas discounts and offers, or deck themselves up in festive decorations in order to draw in a Christmas audience. A walk down a typical main street will see the town packed with Christmas shoppers getting last minute purchases in Christmas has become a huge event, and each year – to the bemusement of many – it seems like markets are trying to cash in on the holiday earlier and earlier, in the infamous "Christmas creep".

It's gained traction across the globe as well simply due to how lucrative it has become, even in countries where Christianity does not typically hold much sway. In Japan, the holiday became popularised during the American occupation and is largely seen as an occasion for young couples rather than families. Although it isn't a holiday, the country is often awash with Christmas decorations of a decidedly secular nature divorced of its Christian trappings, and KFC tends to be the preferred meal of choice to turkey or goose.

Some non-Christian countries have also seen increased Christmas marketing, resulting in celebrating Christmas being banned amid concerns it is too Western.

India's 2020 festive season will generate $6.5 billion in online sales during this year's festive month (October 15 to November 15), with around 55 million to 60 million online buyers participating. About 75 per cent of these sales will occur from October 15 to October 21, the period in which Flipkart will hold its Big Billion Days event, while Amazon's Great Indian Festival event will start on October 17. Year-over-year growth in online retail spending during the festive month will see a growth of 34 per cent.

Indian economic contraction will be more severe than previously anticipated, with the latest forecast projecting a decline of 10.3 per cent in GDP for 2020 compared to the forecasted decline of 4.5 per cent released in June. The economic downfall also means job losses and erosion in consumer confidence. With sharp contraction in the economy and a pressured job market, consumers flocked to online channels to get the best bargains. Some pent-up demand from the lockdown period was let out during the Prime Day sales event in August; A lot of demand in consumer electronics, home appliances, smartphones and home furnishing is expected to drive more sales during the festive month. It is also expect an increase in share of purchase from tier 2 and 3 cities due to migration of employees to smaller cities as offices are closed.

Vincent Fernandes
Next Story
Share it