Contrary to reports of slow-down and dull festivity, there has been a spurt in sales of smartphones, televisions and consumer durables. Many consumers tend to put off their purchases to an auspicious time. There are many new launches with great deals and discounts. Suchit Subhas, Director - Large Appliances & Furniture, Amazon India says, "Purchases consumers make during these days are part of festive celebration. Almost 25 to 30 per cent of industry sales happen during festivals."
Over the last two months, there have been over 30 new launches (minus variants) of smartphones in the under Rs 20,000 price category. With each device available in multiple variants, covering all price points, there is something for everyone. Ajey Mehta, Vice President India and APAC, HMD Global says "Twenty per cent of annual sales happen around this time."
The Redmi Note 8 Pro and Redmi Note 8 that went on sale on October 22 were sold-out in seconds. Raghu Reddy, Head, Category and Online sales, Xiaomi India says "The Diwali month registers close to twice the sales of an average month for smartphones." Flagship smartphones are no different. The aggressively priced new Apple iPhone 11 has been in great demand. The base model is priced at Rs 64,900 but after various offers it was available for less than Rs 60,000. Currently, the iPhone 11 model is out-of-stock not just offline but on all popular e-commerce portals including Amazon, Flipkart and Paytm. It will be back in stock on Amazon only on October 27.
What made the festive deals even sweeter were cashback, discounts and freebies. In budget smartphones, discount offers worked well. The Realme C2 2GB+32GB model priced at Rs 6,999 was available for Rs 5,399 during Big Diwali Sale on Flipkart. Oppo, offered Complete Damage Protection' on the recently launched Reno2 series and One-Time Screen Replacement for A9 2020 for six months along with cashback and zero-down payment offers. This is a great value-add since screen replacement costs account for more than half the price of the device.
Thanks to the influx of affordable smart TVs, even leading players have been aggressive. Consumers buying televisions can are choose from a wide variety at different price points apart from discounts and cashback. A 32-inch smart TV running Android TV is available for less than Rs 10,000. iFFALCON by TCL 32 inch HD Ready LED Smart Android TV with HDR 10 And Google Assistant was retailing for Rs 9,999 and buyers could also avail 10 per cent instant discount on SBI cards.
Xiaomi sold over 5 lakh Mi TVs in 24 days starting 28 September across online and offline channels. While the 32-inch and 43-inch TV are the most popular in affordable smart TV category, 55-inch and above are demand in the premium segment.
In a segment, once dominated by Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic, players such as VU, Xiaomi, OnePlus to name a few are increasingly eating their share. OnePlus had adopted a completely different approach. It opted for a premium design for its 55-inch base model priced at Rs 69,899 and the Pro model with built-in soundbar and table mount at Rs 99,899. "OnePlus TV emerged best-selling smart premium TV in the Amazon Great Indian Festival with 42 per cent segment share", says Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India.
Samsung expects a 3x growth compared to last year in the TV segment during this Diwali. Raju Pullan, Senior Vice President, Consumer Electronics Business, Samsung India says, "For this season we aim to achieve a market share of 60 per cent in the 55-inch and above TV category from current 48.5 per cent and maintain 82 per cent market share in 75-inch and above TV category."
Home appliances too are selling like hotcakes this year. LG had targeted Rs 5,000 crore sales during this Diwali season. Vivek Babu, VP-Home Appliances, LG Electronics India, "We are witnessing robust growth across categories and our overall growth is around 35 per cent. Growth for premium products is very impressive."
According to Amazon after the first of the three set of Great Indian Festival sale, large appliances category witnessed 8x growth and almost half the sales came from low-tier towns powered by brands like Godrej, LG, Samsung and Whirlpool. Amazon says half the customers availed EMI to stretch their budget and one in every 5 customer upgraded appliances with exchange.
Right ahead of the festive sale kick-off, Flipkart introduced comprehensive 'Complete Protection' service plan for home appliances that covers TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines sold on its platform. The idea was to build stronger trust and value proposition for customers as it will address all types of customer issues through a single window. This includes doorstep repair, replacement and refund option, powered by Jeeves, Flipkart's customer service arm. Such offers help in winning consumer trust.
Offline v/s Online
Over the last few years, sales during the festive season have been shifting from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce platforms. Even though online sales still contribute less than what offline generates, consumer durable and smartphone manufacturers are coming up with special deals and models for e-commerce platforms.
To achieve the record-breaking sales in consumer durables and large appliances, Samsung is focusing on offline and online retail. "We are present wherever the consumer chooses to buy from. To further strengthen our retail network, we increased 25 per cent of investments in premium retail experience and a 42 per cent increase in digital marketing spends compared to last year."
Ashok Gupta of Delhi based Home Appliances Store says, "sales have started to pick since last ten days. However, be it a refrigerator or television, when walking into a store, consumers have a very limited option to choose from whereas there is a huge variety online. That's one of the biggest reason why they have started shopping on e-commerce platforms." To top this all, the ease of delivery and easy exchange and return policies is something consumers prefer.
The footfall at the offline stores has started to pick during the last couple of weeks whereas for e-commerce it started with the season's first festive sale that happened towards the end of September.