Online shopping in India to grow by 78 percent in 2016: Assocham

Mar 20, 2016 0

New Delhi– Average online purchases in India are expected to increase by 78 percent this year on the back of attractive deals and aggressive marketing of merchandise, industry chamber Assocham said on Sunday.

“Unfazed by slowdown, average online purchases are expected to increase by 78 percent in 2016 from 66 percent in 2015, due to attractive deals and aggressive marketing of ever-expanding range of merchandise from clothes to jewellery, from electronics to books,” said a study by Assocham and international accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).

D.S. Rawat (Photo: Financial Express)

D.S. Rawat (Photo: Financial Express)

Around 55 million consumers purchased online in 2015 and the number is expected to grow to 80 million this year with better logistics, broadband and Internet-ready devices, it said.

The report said the growth of e-commerce has been driven by aggressive merchandising and discounting from flash sales and daily deals, more online loyalty programmes and increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets among consumers.

“The smartphone and tablet shoppers will be strong growth drivers. Mobile phones already account for 11 percent of e-commerce sales, and their share will jump to 25 percent by 2017,” it said.

Overall the e-commerce industry, worth $25 billion, has been growing at a compound annual growth rate of about 35-40 percent a year, and is expected to cross the $100 billion mark in five years, it added.

“E-commerce is big business and getting bigger every day. Online shopping has been embraced by Indians with close to 8-10 million adults making a purchase via the Internet in the last year,” said Assocham secretary general D.S.Rawat.

The report also said computer and consumer electronics, along with apparel and accessories, will contribute 40 percent of the total retail e-commerce sales in 2016, from the current level of 35 percent.

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Alibaba keen to enter Indian e-commerce space in 2016

Mar 18, 2016 0

New Delhi– Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is exploring the online marketplace opportunities in India and is keen to enter the country in 2016, its president Michael Evans said here on Friday.

“We have been exploring very carefully the e-commerce opportunity in this country which we think is very exciting on the backdrop of Digital India,” Evans said after meeting Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“We plan to come here and work to serve both customers, consumers and of course small businesses because that is the history and the DNA of Alibaba. We are planning to enter the e-commerce business in India in 2016,” he added.

On his side, Prasad said: “We hope Alibaba will come and have a good footprint in India also including the expanding business of e-commerce, they are exploring the possibility. On my behalf I have said very clearly Alibaba is quite free to come and expand its footprint in India.”

An Alibaba affiliate, Ant Financial Services Group had signed a deal to buy a 25 percent stake in Indian mobile payments and e-commerce platform Paytm owner One97 Communications in 2015.

The same year, Alibaba has also received anti-trust regulator Competition Commission of India’s approval for buying 4.14 percent stake in Snapdeal.

“I told him (Evans) about the exponential growth of e-commerce in India and what was a matter of great assurance that he said he proposes to take care of business online and also offline,” Prasad added.

India’s e-commerce market is likely to touch $38 billion-mark in 2016, a 67 percent surge over the $23 billion it clocked last year, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

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Jewellers to continue strike, shops in Tamil Nadu open

Mar 18, 2016 0
ashok_minawala

Ashok Minawala

Chennai–Jewellery shops in Tamil Nadu have started functioning but there is no internal division within the industry and the indefinite strike against excise duty on products will continue till the government heeds their demand, said senior officials of a trade association.

“Except in Tamil Nadu, the trade is on strike in other southern states like Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In south, there are large players,” All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) director Ashok Minawala told IANS.

GJF zonal committee member Jayantilal Challani told IANS that the industry in Tamil Nadu is in a different league.

“They are operating in a corporate set up with big showrooms wherethe overheads are high and has to be met,” said Challani, who is also president of the Madras Jewellers and Diamond Merchants Association.

He said the industry in north is strongly againt the central government’s decision to impose excise duty.

The gems and jewellery industry is on indefinite strike since March 2 in protest against the central government’s decision to inpose excise duty.

However both the officials stress that there is no internal division in GJF on the issue of big shops doing business in Tamil Nadu.

Jewellery shops in Tamil Nadu are operating since Thursday afternoon.

According to Minawala, the industry has lost around Rs.20,000 crore of business due to the strike.

“The strike will continue till the government discusses the issue with us and take suitable action. We have made several suggestions on the issue,” he said.

Minawala said the strike will affect the exports and also bigger players with chain of showrooms would start feeling the pinch when the supplies dry out.

Meanwhile the central government on Friday said representatives of the jewellery industry met the revenue secretary and chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs on March 17 to discuss the issue.

According to the government at the meeting, it was clarified that in case of jewellery manufactured on job work basis, the liability to take registration, pay duty and to file return is on the principal manufacturer and not on the job worker.

Further, exemption from excise duty up to the clearance limit of Rs.6 crore is available to a jewellery manufacturer if his aggregate value of domestic clearances is less than Rs.12 crore in the preceding financial year.

Artisans and job-workers are not covered within the ambit of this duty and thus they are not required to take registration, pay duty, file returns and maintain any books of account.

A jewellery manufacturer having turnover less than Rs. 12 crore during the preceding financial year and less than Rs. 6 crore in the current financial year is not required to take registration and file return.

Application for excise registration as well as returns can be filled online.

Directions have been issued to the field formations to provide hassle free registration within two working days. There will be no post registration physical verification of the jeweller’s premises.

There is no requirement of declaring pre-budget stocks. Directions have also been issued barring any visits to the jeweller’s premises.

Jeweller’s private records or his records for state value added tax or for Bureau of Indian Standards (in the case of hallmarked jewellery) would be accepted for all central excise purposes.

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Vegetables’ retail, wholesale price gap over 53 percent

Feb 21, 2016 0

New Delhi–The rate difference between wholesale and retail prices of essential vegetables went up over 53 percent in the three-month period between November 2015 to January 2016, as against 50.4 percent during the same period last year, business chamber Assocham said on Sunday.

“Disparity between wholesale price and retail prices for essential vegetables like brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower went up beyond 53.3 percent during November 2015 to January 2016 which was 50.4 percent as compared to the same period last year, according to a recent Assocham paper,” the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said in a release here.

It said the study shows that the majority of Indian retailers are selling vegetables at prices which are significantly higher than the wholesale price index (WPI) 2016.

“Normally, the difference between wholesale and retail prices on an average stays around 30 percent but it has been much more as seen in the findings of the paper,” Assocham said.

The study has considered nearly 28 market centres in India including Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Dehradun, Delhi, Gangtok, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Lasalgaon, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nasik, Patna, Pimpalgaon, Pune, Raipur, Ranchi, Shimla, Srinagar and Thiruvananthapuram, and found most recorded huge difference between wholesale and retail prices.

Out of the 28 centres, 11 centres are charging more than all India average retail prices and wholesale prices, the study found. The retail prices are over and above 53.3 percent to the wholesale prices during November 2015 to January 2016, the study showed.

The top centres charging more than 50 percent retail prices than wholesale prices include Hyderabad (132.3 percent) followed by Mumbai (94.7 percent), Ahmedabad (92.5 percent), Amritsar (91.4 percent), Delhi (86.3 percent), Dehradun (84.5 percent), Chandigarh (84.1 percent), Kolkata (74.4 percent), Patna (65 percent) and Ranchi (62.1 percent).

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Ratan Tata invests in retail-tech start-up SnapBizz

Feb 15, 2016 0

New Delhi–Retail technology start-up SnapBizz said on Monday it has raised funding from Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of Tata Sons.

“We are privileged to have Ratan Tata as an investor at SnapBizz. As one of the most respected names in corporate India, he brings a rich legacy of doing business with a human touch,” said a statement issued by the Bangalore-based company, quoting Founder and Chief Executive Officer Prem Kumar.

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

The statement did not disclose the amount invested by Ratan Tata.

In January 2016, SnapBizz had announced a Series A funding of $7.2 million led by Jungle Ventures, Taurus Value creation, Konly Venture and Blume Ventures.

“SnapBizz Cloudtech is working towards changing the face of small-scale retail sector in the country and empower kirana (mom-and-pop) stores not only to be competition-ready but to have a competitive edge by making them virtual super markets,” the statement said.

Founded in 2013, SnapBizz Cloudtech has developed a technology platform to connect all stakeholders of the fragmented retail ecosystem in the country, while adding value to individual stakeholders, to reverse marginalization of small and medium-sized businesses and drive digital inclusion in the large consumer goods industry.

SnapBizz currently works with over 1,000 kirana stores across Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore and aims to expand its footprint across other tier I and II cities.

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Internet to influence $11 billion of beauty, hygiene sales in India by 2020

Feb 12, 2016 0

Mumbai–Capturing the growing influence of the internet on beauty and hygiene (B&H) products, a report released by Google and Bain & Co. on Friday revealed it would influence $11 billion of the total sales in the FMCG sector for such products by 2020.

This represents two-thirds of B&H sales of $17 billion in 2020, the report said.

While the total influence of the internet will impact $35 billion worth of FMCG sales, which is 1/3rd of total sales, in India, beauty and hygiene will see two times higher impact as more and more users get online to research in this category, the report said.

Projecting the growth of online shoppers who will buy beauty and hygiene products online, the report estimated 130 million Indians to shop online by 2020 making the internet a prominent sales channel forming 20 percent of total sales estimated to be $3 billion.

This is backed by the strong growth in the number of online users in India, which will continue to see rapid adoption reaching approx 650 millon by 2020. Over 200 million women will be online with the internet reaching over 250 million rural users in India by 2020. The population of online shoppers will continue to see rapid growth in India, reaching 250 million by 2020 – 40 percent of all internet users, the report said.

Speaking about the key findings of the report, Vikas Agnihotri, industry director, Google India said: “By studying the behavior of the lead consumers from an FMCG standpoint, it is clear that FMCG companies in India need to start thinking of digital as a more strategic medium and chart out a digital growth path for their products.

“Adoption of highly consumed product categories in beauty and hygiene category is 2x higher in digital households compared to non-digital households and even the penetration of emerging product categories is 2 to 3x higher in digital households, making the digital audience an extremely important audience for the industry,” Agnihotri said.

Speaking about the current engagement levels of FMCG companies with the digital medium, Nikhil Prasad Ojha, partner, Bain & Co., said: “Most FMCG companies in India have underestimated the impact of internet and are struggling to ascertain a clear digital roadmap for their products.”

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Websites selling second-hand branded apparel mushroom in India

Jan 19, 2016 0

By Azera Parveen Rahman

NEW DELHI– Frame one: a pretty designer dress sits in the closet for ages, having outlived its owner’s fancy. Frame two: a young girl desires a designer outfit, but her salary won’t just let her splurge in the store. Now bring the two together; if the second girl could buy the first girl’s little-worn dress at half the price, it’s a happy scene for both. This is precisely what an increasing number of websites reselling second-hand luxury brands are doing – and are finding eager queues of customers.

Buying pre-owned things – be it an electronic gadget, furniture or vehicle – has seen a rising number of takers. There is of course a hesitation of buying something that has been used, but people are getting over it, as an actor in one of the ads on buying a second-hand bike says: “It may be pre-owned, but for us it’s new.”

Practicality is overtaking all biases.

Of course, clothes are more personal, and buying pre-owned clothes is not everybody’s cup of tea. But for college-going youngsters and those freshly employed who are very conscious about keeping up with the fast-changing trends in fashion, this works out perfectly.

“I know my mother won’t be comfortable with the idea of me wearing a pre-owned piece of clothing, but I don’t have any such mental block. For a college-goer like me who lives on a tight budget, fitting the frequent eating-out, movies, and shopping is a challenge. So if I get a designer dress from a brand like Zara or Mango at half the price, I would love it,” says Animikha Sharma, a Delhi-based student.

Rekinza, one such online platform for branded, second-hand women’s apparel, is capitalising on this precise flexible mindset that people, mostly youngsters, have. It sources its products from women across India who don’t want a piece of clothing any more, and then puts it up for sale at a fraction of the original price.

“Of course, we first put the item (that we source) through a rigorous triple quality and authenticity check before putting it up for sale. Besides looking at the stitching, fabric and finishing of the product, finer details such as the label, country of manufacture and other signage on the items to determine authenticity are also accounted for,” Rekinza co-founder Vidisha Pasari told IANS.

“Additionally, for our luxury items, Rekinza has tied up with a third party in the US to provide authentication certificates,” she added. The products which are either new, or new-like, are priced at 50-70 percent off their retail price. The seller quotes the price – “imagine making money on stuff you have used” – and the online platform through which you sell it takes a commission of 15-25 percent.

Elanic is yet another app-based platform to sell and buy pre-owned apparel, including clothes, books, sports goods, electrical appliances, and kids’ stuff. Aditi Rohan, co-founder of this platform, says that the transaction rate since the beginning of its journey has been phenomenal.

Bangalore-based Shruti Bora, who has started an online initiative of a similar nature on her own, says it’s the perfect way to “recycle your wardrobe. Mine is a small platform where I have put up most of my little-used stuff on sale. They are in perfect condition, and for some reason were not used more than once or twice…either I was bored, or didn’t fit in any more, or realised that it didn’t suit me after all! Only my friends and some of their friend know of this at the moment; so the credibility part is taken care of,” she said.

What is interesting is that apart from the youngsters, those in their 40s are also emerging as potential consumers of this hugely-expanding market. “We have seen a growing interest among the 40-plus segment. This shows a shift in the consumer mindset,” said Pasari, whose site boasts of both Indian designer brands and international ones.

Is this then the answer to most women’s all-time woe “of an overflowing closet and yet nothing to wear”. Tricky, but for now, it has definitely addressed many a girl’s fantasy of a new closet in tune with the changing trends.

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E-commerce industry to cross $38 bn mark in India

Jan 1, 2016 0

NEW DELHI–Helped by increasing internet, mobile penetration and growing acceptability of online payments, e-commerce market in India is likely to touch $38 billion mark in 2016, a study revealed here on Friday.

The study done by the industry lobby Associated Chambers of Commerce (Assocham) stated it is likely that there will be a huge 67 percent jump in 2016 over the $23 billion revenue for 2015.

Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat (Photo courtesy: Financial Express)

Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat (Photo courtesy: Financial Express)

The industry has witnessed a growth of 52 percent over 2015 and has emerged as one of the fastest growing sectors.

“Increasing internet and mobile penetration, growing acceptability of online payments and favorable demographics has provided the e-commerce sector in India the unique opportunity to companies connect with their customers,” the Assocham paper said.

Releasing the paper, Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said India’s e-commerce market was worth about $3.8 billion in 2009, it went up to $17 billion in 2014 and to $23 billion in 2015m, and is expected to touch a whopping $38 billion mark by 2016.

On the other hand, mobile commerce (m-commerce) is growing rapidly as a stable and secure supplement to the e-commerce industry. Shopping online through smart phones is proving to be a game changer, and industry leaders believe that m-commerce could contribute up to 70 percent of their total revenues.

The paper revealed that Mumbaikars have left behind all other cities in India shopping online in 2015. While Delhiites rank second, Ahemdabadis rank third. Bengaluru residents rank fourth and Kolkata people rank fifth in their preference for online shopping in 2015.

“The customer is connected 24×7 through their smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices which is leading to a gradual evolution of e-commerce into mobile commerce and there is an issue of convenience which also leads to impulsive buying,” Rawat added.

The most important contributing factor to the rapid growth of digital commerce in India is the increase in the use of smartphones. Mobiles and mobile accessories have taken up the maximum share of the digital commerce market in India, added the Assocham paper.

Almost 45 percent of online shoppers reportedly preferred cash on delivery mode of payment over credit cards (16 percent) and debit cards (21 percent).

Among the age segments, 18-25 age group has been the fastest growing segment online with user growth being contributed by both male and female segments, the study added.

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E-tailers log out smart buyers from costly retailers in India

Dec 30, 2015 0

By Fakir Balaji & Aparajita Gupta

BENGALURU–Technology-driven e-tailers from the virtual world are giving a run for the money to retailers in the real world, as they lure away smart buyers with lower prices, heavy discounts and door-step delivery.

What began as a trickle two-three years ago has turned into a tide, as is evident from the phenomenal growth of e-tail business in 2015, especially in consumer and electronic goods, durables, appliances, fashion, travel, food and what have you.

Ankit Nagori

Ankit Nagori

“This year (2015) has been the year of digital consumers, as more offline buyers shifted to online shopping for benefits and advantages e-commerce offers,” Ankit Nagori, leading e-tailer Flipkart’s chief business officer, told IANS here.

With faster internet access through broadband and Wi-Fi (wirless fidelity) and increasing use of smartphones and other handheld devices like tablets and i-Pads, browsing e-commerce web sites and placing orders have become a growing trend in cities and towns across the country.

“Internet penetration through mobiles and access to a variety of brands and products at affordable prices has made 2015 a year of e-commerce, with electronics and mobiles emerging as top performers,” Nagori asserted.

According to a survey (FlipTrends2015) Flipkart conducted from January 1-December 14, Delhi NCR (National Capital Region), emerged as the most online shopping-savvy area, followed by Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad.

“E-commerce business has grown to $23 billion in 2015 from $13.6 billion in 2014, registering a whopping 70 percent annual growth, with e-tail contributing $12 billion this year as against $4.5 billion last year in gross merchandise value,” Rajat Wahi, partner and head, consumer markets, KPMG in India told IANS.

Among tier-1 cities, Pune emerged on top followed by Coimbatore, Ahmedabad and Lucknow. Bhubaneswar is the only city from the eastern region to figure in the study.

Mangaluru in Karnataka emerged the top tier-two city of digital shoppers, followed by Mysuru, while hill town Dehradun in Uttarakhand came third, with Salem in Tamil Nadu and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh closely behind.

“The e-tail space is dominated by consumers between the 25-34 years age group. More than half of them are office goers, followed by students,” the survey noted, adding that 69 percent of them were males.

Changes in lifestyle and shopping choices saw buyers preferring online channels over physical channels to save time and seek a wider range of variety.

“E-commerce has seen unprecedented growth in 2015, aided by rising online consumers, affordable smart-phones and improvements in network infrastructure,” PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India partner Sandeep Ladda told IANS from Delhi.

Though diverse factors are fuelling e-commerce growth, huge price difference on products or goods such as groceries, fruits and vegetables offered online vis-a-vis retail sellers offline, is drawing even well-paid buyers to them, as they don’t want to be short-changed of their hard-earned money.

“Just as there is 50-100 percent difference in prices of retail and wholesale markets, there is a similar gap in prices at which we are buying online from home or office and saving a lot of time and energy,” Murali Krishna, 36, a marketing executive in consumer brands, told IANS here.

Apart from items of daily consumption being just a click away, access to thousands of products or goods across categories is making smart buyers bargain for best price by interacting with rival e-tailers through e-mail, SMS and chat sessions.

“As we are a working couple with school-going kids in a gridlocked city (Bengaluru), we buy most of our daily needs online, as they are delivered at home at a specified time, with option to return or reject if not satisfied of their quality,” Sangeeta Kulkarni, a techie with a global software major, told IANS.

Apart from traditional marketplaces, newer business segments such as hyper-local, food-delivery, classifieds, real estate, grocery and healthcare also went online, with many becoming popular and attracting attention of investors.

“Multiple channels for shopping emerged, as traditional retailers moved from an offline model to an omni-channel format,” Ladda pointed out.

The year also saw a shift of e-tailers from discounting strategies to re-sizing or re-aligning their businesses, as investors focus on returns.

“As one of the fastest growing segments, e-tail has evolved, but it is yet to mature to compete with its offline counterpart (retail). From deep-discounting, e-tailers are focusing on growth and return on investments,” Wahi added.

E-tailers like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon are also focusing on improving consumer retention and frequency through personalised offerings and creating offline touch points.

“The year saw the rise and impact of mobile shopping, disrupting conventional business models, with consumers shopping through smart-phones and many e-tailers going the app-only mode to conduct their business,” Lidda observed.

As per the revised FDI policy, single brand retailers having foreign investment can engage in e-commerce activities without government approval.

“Many e-commerce firms have changed their focus to profitability as raising capital becomes difficult. Earlier, to build a customer base, they offered deep discounts and spent huge amounts on marketing,” Ladda added.

Highlights:

* E-tailers outsmart retailers with lower prices, discounts & door delivery

* More offline buyers shift to online shopping for benefits & advantages

* Online shopping became trend on faster internet access & mobility

* Delhi-NCR most online shopping savvy city-region in the country

* E-commerce grows 70 percent annually with e-tail chipping in most

* Consumers of 25-34 years age group dominate e-tail space

* Online channel preferred over offline to save time and make better choice

* Huge price difference makes even the well-off go on online spree

* Office-goers and working couples find e-tailing suitable for daily needs

* E-tailers shift focus on growth and returns from discounts and freebies

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Lingerie brand Hunkemoller opens flagship store in India

Dec 23, 2015 0

NEW DELHI– European luxury lingerie brand Hunkemoller has opened its flagship store in the capital.

The 790 sq. ft. Hunkemoller store, that opened its doors for customers on Wednesday, is located in the DLF Promenade mall.

Photo courtesy: Hunkemoller

Photo courtesy: Hunkemoller

“The brand has a strong market base in Europe and we are sure our customers will be charmed by their exciting merchandise. Further DLF Promenade always ensures that patrons get the next best moment in fashion…Adding Hunkemoller to our already exciting brand portfolio is a step in this direction,” Dinaz Madhukar, senior vice president and mall head, DLF Promenade and Emporio, told IANS.

The lingerie store provides a mix of cotton, satin and lace lingerie; nightwear, hosiery, garters, swimwear and accessories like eye masks, make-up pouches, night time fluffy socks and bedroom slippers.

The collection, planned by its in-house team offers a wide array of playful feminine designs, cuts and colours such as red, neon pink, black and navy blue.

Originally founded in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1886, the luxury lingerie brand has its existence in as many as 18 countries and islands including Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Aruba, Curacao, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Austria and France.

The store in New Delhi has five girls, trained to help potential customers with perfect-fit inner wears.

Their fittings are based on three features such as fullness, spacing and measurements. Then the staff matches the details with one of the four main bra shapes that are balcony for lift and comfort; demi, which subtly enhances the cleavage, full cup gives full coverage and maximum support; and plunge, which gives cleavage with a lift.

“A professional from the brand, who has seven years of rich experience flew down from Amsterdam, so that she could give first hand training to help the clients to find their correct bra fittings,” the store manager said.

“I was also sent to Amsterdam to get trained for the same. We, at Hunkemoller, are serious about our job and we want to provide international standards to our customers here,” the store manager added.

Hunkemoller has entered the Indian market through a franchise agreement with Reliance Brand Limited.

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