2016 E-Tailing Festive Season – An All Round Success

With the 2017 festive season upon us, it is time to reflect on what transpired during past editions of the event. In this series of press releases, we look back at the performance of the industry in terms of sales growth and category mix, customer, and seller satisfaction during sale events.

Oct 16 festive sale days were a clear success- with 50% more GMV generated 
vs 2015 sale days
Online Retail Daily Gross Average

Before the festive sales kicked off in 2016, there was a hint of pessimism in as to how the sales would turn out. DIPP regulations restricting deep discounting and capping share of GMV from in-house sellers at 25% were responsible for the lackluster performance of the industry for most of the year. Investors’ stance of observing the market on valuation correction further created the need for disciplined cash burn, creating a loop of slow growth for the industry.

However, the sales event was an unprecedented success, delivering the highest ever industry GMV levels of USD 210 Mn per day. The success of the sale days enabled industry GMV for the whole month of October to reach USD 27 billion annualized run-rate and ensure delight for all stakeholders due to extensive planning and superior execution.


Customers and sellers both reported higher satisfaction on most key metrics in 2016 sales vs 2015 – indicating growing industry maturity
Customers and sellers satisfaction

The keys to success in the 2016 festive season

What explains this phenomenal success in Oct’16 for the industry? It was a combination of multiple factors, some of which we have highlighted below-

  • Widest-ever selection with multiple exclusives
  • Better than ever operations execution
  • Higher than ever acceptance of EMI/buyback offers, which strongly pushed sales of high-value items
  • Strategic discounting on key SKUs and categories
  • Extensive usage of digital marketing for targeted reach-outs
  • Ultimately, it was a combination of extensive long-term planning done by e-tailers in advance of the event that was the crucial driver in the success.

Ultimately, it was a combination of extensive long-term planning done by e-tailers in advance of the event that was the crucial driver in the success.

Satisfcation with sales performance


Flipkart managed to edge out its competitors to emerge as market leader in 
2016 festive days
E-Tailer GMV Market Share

As with 2015, Flipkart emerged as the leader during the 2016 festive days as well with ~43% GMV share. Driven by wide selection and offers coupled with robust delivery and targeted marketing, Flipkart could gain a lead over aggressive competitors in the crucial part of the year- setting the stage for its revival since then.

Commenting on the success of last year’s sales, Anil Kumar, Founder, and CEO, of RedSeer Consulting, says-

The 2016 festive sales was truly a milestone for the industry. Its unprecedented success set the stage for industry revival in last quarter of 2016 onwards after a challenging year. E-tailers can take multiple lessons from the success of the event to ensure that the success continues at a much bigger scale in 2017.


The Great Indian Online Festive Sales Review- 2017

For the last three years, the festive sales period has always been a crucial moment for the Indian e-tailing industry, with key metrics showing a significant jump compared to the non-sales period. As the gold standard in the consumer internet industry, RedSeer has provided sharp and in-depth coverage of the festive season in the past to the media, with a focus on quantitative insights and deep analysis.

This year, RedSeer plans to do the biggest-ever coverage of the event. Coverage of the festive season would be from all the vantage points i.e. consumer experience, seller experience, and overall industry performance to present a comprehensive outlook on the performance of the Indian e-tailing sector.

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