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BENGALURU : Indians are expected to add goods worth a whopping $9 billion to their online shopping carts during this festive season despite physical stores reopening after pandemic curbs were eased, indicating continuing momentum for e-commerce companies.

RedSeer Consulting expects sales to rise 23% this year from the $7.4 billion in total gross merchandise value (GMV) of goods sold on e-commerce platforms during the festive months in 2020. However, the projected gains are slower than the record 48% growth witnessed last year, when offline establishments saw sales plummet because of fear of covid and pandemic-related restrictions.

RedSeer, however, estimates e-commerce companies will clock sales worth $4.8 billion in the first week of festive sales this year, a 30% increase from 2020. E-commerce firms clocked almost $3.7 billion in GMV in the first week of festive sales last year.

This year, too, the growth in GMV will be driven by customers in tier-II cities and beyond, as they choose e-commerce for deeper discounts and convenience, RedSeer said.

RedSeer predicts that almost 55-60% of online shoppers will be from smaller towns and cities during the festive season.

“We believe that the 2021 online festive sales will continue to ride on strong tailwinds of greater consumer digital adoption supported by an increasingly positive macro and consumption sentiment after the covid second wave has passed," said Mrigank Gutgutia, associate partner at RedSeer. “At the same time, we see strong bullishness in sellers towards festive sales, as almost 80% of them believe that the festive season will enable them to drive strong sales growth and make up for the losses during the covid period."

Following a similar trend to previous festive sales, mobile and electronics will continue to remain popular shopping categories during the festive season, contributing to almost 73% of e-commerce sale GMV this year as well, estimates show. Further, fashion is expected to contribute to 16% of the overall festive GMV this year.

The growth in mobiles and electronics sales will be fuelled by platforms offering easier payment terms, including equated monthly instalments (EMIs) and buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) offerings in association with partners.

“The bigger shift that we have seen for e-commerce during festive sales are the new financing constructs including EMI and BNPL schemes offered by platforms through partnerships. This will continue to be an important flavour, this festive season as well," said Ujjwal Chaudhry, associate partner, RedSeer.

In addition, the total GMV clocked by the e-commerce industry is expected to jump 37% in calendar year 2021 from the previous year to between $49 billion and $52 billion, according to RedSeer’s estimates. Last year, the e-commerce industry clocked more than $38 billion in annual GMV.

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