By Nishant Arora
New Delhi, Dec 24 : With the novel coronavirus bringing the world to its knees early this year, India went into various stages of lockdowns. Retail stores/malls/high-end streets went silent, frequent and not-so-frequent shoppers hid inside their homes and it appeared as if 2020 would spell doomsday for the Indian businesses.
Nearly 10 months later, the scenario is strikingly impressive for the online retailers and fashion shopping platforms who raked in record moolah post lockdowns amid festive cheers, as Indian masses went into the ‘revenge shopping’ mode, also infusing life into the smaller online players other than Amazon and Flipkart.
The festive online sales in India beat industry estimates to clock $8.3 billion (nearly Rs 61,253 crore) in the October 15-November 15 period — an impressive growth of 65 per cent (year-on-year).
The gross merchandise value (GMV) numbers increased from $5 billion last year to $8.3 billion this year, riding on the massive orders coming from smaller cities and towns, according to homegrown consulting firm Redseer.
Flipkart and Amazon grabbed the biggest chunk of the total sale (Flipkart Group even accounted for 66 per cent share of the total sale) as usual but when it comes to the real success story at the tail end, it was the fashion-centric e-commerce platform Myntra and Reliance-owned AJIO that wrote a brand new chapter this year.
An integral part of the Flipkart Group, Myntra has seen Kidswear registering highest growth among all categories in 2020. The kids’ category saw a whopping 90 per cent growth over the last one year.
Myntra currently offers over 1.1 lakh styles from more than 450 leading brands in the kid’s category.
A Myntra spokesperson told IANS that 2020 will certainly go down in the annals of history as a year which not only challenged every perceivable code in the rule book, but also gave them immense learning and experience.
“While the pandemic has impacted businesses across industries, we were successful in mitigating its effect with a more proactive approach, undertaking a quick rejig of our model to accommodate consumer and partner needs that emerged out of the pandemic, thus staying relevant,” the company spokesperson emphasised.
As the year drew to a close, the 13th edition of Myntra’s ‘End of Reason Sale’ (EORS) witnessed a record-breaking 15 million visitors on its opening day on December 20, registering a massive growth of more than 110 per cent over the BAU (business as usual) period.
Myntra sold 3 million items within the first 24 hours. The Tier 2 and 3 cities witnessed a growth of 55 per cent in new customers, led by Jammu, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Kakinada, Dehradun and Imphal, among others.
“We were also able to achieve a record-breaking sale during the festive period, exceeding pre-Covid business levels overall by a considerable margin and increasing our market share in the online space, while enabling hundreds of brands to grow significantly along with us. We added over 500 brands on the platform this year, including omni-channel partnerships, which truly reflect the trust placed by the ecosystem on Myntra,” said the Myntra spokesperson.
Reliance-backed e-commerce fashion platform AJIO is another shining example of a turnaround success story in the pandemic-hit year.
“AJIO scaled new highs with 4x growth in orders from pre-Covid levels. Its quarterly revenue run rate is now equivalent to full last year’s revenue,” Reliance Industries said during its quarterly earnings results on October 30.
The platform offers over 2,50,000 styles of curated collections across its own brand and more than 1,400 national and international brands.
According to Dinesh Thapar of Reliance Retail, on the way forward, the company will continue to “remain very focused on scaling up digital commerce activity orders across all the platforms including AJIO”.
A recent Bernstein report said that Reliance is “best positioned in new commerce, digitising neighbourhood stores, and e-commerce apps (JioMart and AJIO)”.
Another report from Bank of America said that “AJIO helps strengthen RIL’s O2O (offline-to-online) capabilities through in-store couponing, aisle kiosks. It does direct deliveries from 350 trends and 70 trends footwear stores”.
In a push for locally-made artisanal products, Reliance Retail last month showcased more than 40,000 artisan-crafted products from over 50 Geographical Indication (GI) clusters to its customers this festive season.
Reliance Retail’s programme to support local artisans includes its three-year old flagship initiatives “Indie by AJIO” and “Swadesh”.
The programmes now engage with more than 30,000 craftsmen, representing over 600 art forms across a wide spectrum of clothing, textiles, handicrafts and handmade natural goods.
“We are delighted that our development efforts over the last few years are now bearing strong results both in our ability to engage with an increasing number of craftsmen as well as our ability to co-create and co-curate products that are being increasingly accepted by today’s consumers,” said Akhilesh Prasad, President, Reliance Fashion & Lifestyle.
(Nishant Arora can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)