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E-commerce and D2C Startups Share Unique Shopping Trends This Diwali The pandemic has changed the way we shop and brands are doing their best to capitalize on the same this festive season

By S Shanthi

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Diwali is around the corner and every brand is trying to cash in on the pent-up emotions of shoppers. E-commerce and D2C are making the best use of the rise in online shopping among consumers by offering the best deals and taking care of timely deliveries.

For instance, ShopClues was well-prepared to meet the Diwali rush. It stocked up its inventory with over 4 crore products across categories like fashion, home décor and electronics and also brought back one of its oldest pillars from the earlier days with deals starting at as low as INR. 29. "We're working with over 7.5 lakh vendors, including local entrepreneurs from different regions of India. Through our warehouses in Mumbai and Gurgaon, we are focusing on the aspect of quick delivery. We have strengthened our branded-merchandise platform "ShopClues Prime Mall' with a sharp focus on branded assortment and imported products from all over the world," said Anuraag Gambhir, head of marketplace, ShopClues.

D2C brand Plum claims that as this is the season of offers and discounts, so it is making shoppers happy with thoughtfully curated specially-priced combos, as well as offers on all its products. It has also expanded to a lot more geographies and types of outlets in retail, so people can discover them more readily. SUGAR Cosmetics collaborated with a celebrity influencer this year for the first time as the founders knew festive'2021 was going to be bigger and better than last year.

"After months of quieted festivities and gatherings, there's now increased fervor amongst customers to shop and have a semblance of their pre-pandemic lives again. They now want to bring in the celebrations with cheer and that is just the feeling we've translated into both - our offerings and marketing efforts," said Tanvi Malik, co-founder and CEO, FabAlley and Indya. In terms of the digital marketing front, Malik and her team have increased the spend on bloggers and collaborating with international influencers in countries that the company ships to as Diwali is hugely celebrated by NRI communities.

Shopping Trends In The New-Normal

The pandemic has changed the way we shop. As things look normal again, brands are observing many new trends and customer behaviors. One such trend is new consumers coming to the fold from tier 2 and tier-3 cities. "This has accelerated the growth. We have been growing more than 3X over last year, this financial year. Our business is up by 60-70 per cent this month owing to an increase in festive buying," Deepak Gupta, COO, Bombay Shaving Company.

Before Covid, 60% of SUGAR's sales came from Metro and tier 1 cities. However, now 60% of its sales now are from tier 2 and tier 3 cities due to digital media reach. "Our e-commerce has seen a lot of traffic from smaller cities as many women now spend more time on social media. Our current customer acquisition is about 10lacs a month," said Vineeta Singh, CEO and co-founder, SUGAR Cosmetics.

Bombay Shaving Company also observed a sharp rise in impulse buying vs stocking up a few months back. "People seem to be responding to moments and micro-moments suc as the excitement of IPL, the tradition of Karwa Chauth, and more," said Gupta. Another interesting trend that the company observed is the increase in DIY regimen and increased ingredient focus.

Plum has seen its makeup category performing extremely well this year. "The challenge there is to make sure there is sufficient supply of all the shades. Also, the up trading trend continues in the market, with no visible stress on pricing," said Shankar Prasad, founder and CEO, Plum. The startup claims to be up 2.5x Y-o-Y, and over 60 per cent above last month which was a non-festive month.

ShopClues has been observing high demand for essentials and significant consumer interest in fashion, home decor and other non-essential categories this year. For this festive season, however, it is seeing an increasing demand of 120 per cent for its "Made in India' products over last year. Diwali lights, diyas, and candle holders have been the company's top-selling products over the festive sales.

"More shoppers are now confident about shopping online as they have got used to the idea through the lockdowns. We have observed an extremely high demand for impulse purchases - so we focused on improving cataloging. So, we are definitely seeing demand even for household products that one usually picks up from Kirana stores. More local, new and emerging brands are coming up which is great for the economy," said Gambhir.

Malik also agrees that the customer sentiment has been extremely positive. FabAlley's daily website traffic numbers have displayed a 30 per cent increase from last month and we're expecting a 100 per cent pre-Diwali growth from 2020.

SUGAR's Singh added that the biggest driving factors for the growth in sales have been revenge shopping and revenge travel. "Also, the increase in home gatherings and house parties - getting ready with a full face makeup still holds as much priority for consumers," she said.

Lastly, the pandemic has made people switch to sustainability over materialism. "Before COVID-19, people were investing a lot of money in purchasing fast fashion wear and quirkier items. But during and post covid phase, they are wanting to opt for a sustainable lifestyle. Even for home decor, people are wanting to buy things that have a minimum to nil amount of plastic, are eco-friendly, and are sturdier. Just like revenge tourism, there is revenge shopping also happening but there is a paradigm shift in the behavior and thought process of the consumer," said Nitin Pamnani, Co-founder, iTokri.

Overall, there is a tremendous switch to online shopping even during festive times, and traffic from tier 2 and tier 3 cities, preference for locally made things, sustainability over style are some of the new trends among consumers.

S Shanthi

Former Senior Assistant Editor

Shanthi specializes in writing sector-specific trends, interviews and startup profiles. She has worked as a feature writer for over a decade in several print and digital media companies. 


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