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Sale or no sale: When do you shop online?

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Festive season online sales: While discounts dictate online shopping decisions for many, be it electronics or grocery, for others it has to be the ease of not having to take time out to step outside and the range of choices offered.

Sale or no sale: When do you shop online?
“Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping,” said Gertrude Stein.
For those who believe in the American novelist's famous quote, looks like ‘happiness' is right at their door with a delivery agent ringing the bell to say “ma’am/sir, your order is here.”
Many are on a shopping spree as e-commerce firms Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra went live with their mega-festival season sales on October 3. While many fall for impulse buying during these flagship e-commerce sales, there are also a few who wait for the sale to end or do not care so much about it anyway. Which category do you belong to?
“When I can get something for cheaper, why would I go for the expensive option? Of course, I wait for these sales when I have something on my mind,” says Ritika Singh, who recently purchased a MacBook for around Rs 80,000 from Amazon’s Great Indian Festival sale.
The 21-year-old fashion vlogger also buys makeup online–also on sale–mostly from Nykaa. She even goes out to the store to figure exactly what she needs but makes the purchase online. Why? Duh! discounts. “They have sales quite frequently. They have up to 40 percent discount running almost every day. Then they have Black Friday sales and more,” she said.
However, Singh doesn’t buy clothing online because she prefers to feel the cloth and its quality, trying and then buying. But, when asked what makes her comfortable buying electronics that she could have also tried at a store, she said, “I check the reviews. If there's someone who's using it around me and overall feels that it is nice, I would go for it.”
Delhi-based Priya Khanna shared a similar sentiment but dismissed the idea of spending a hefty sum on an electronic product online. Instead, she would like to go and check at the store first for any electronics that cost say above Rs 10,000. It’s because most e-commerce sites give you the option to replace an electronic item in a short span but you can’t return it.
The 28-year-old shopaholic, however, said she wouldn’t particularly wait for the festive season sale and instead check out the best deal available at the moment.
“They always have some kind of discounts running. If any festive season is coming in a week or so, then I would like to wait and try if I get a better deal but not a lot. I don't think they actually give better deals (during flagship sales). Maybe they used to offer crazy ones until a few years back to spoil the crowd but at this point of time, it is just null and void,” she explained.
Somewhat echoing Khanna’s perception, Amazon only yesterday, i.e. October 7, introduced ‘Prime Fridays’ for additional discounts and offers that particular day for its Prime customers throughout the Great Indian Festival 2021.
Meanwhile, 50-year-old Rajesh Verma, who also prefers to buy electronics online, said he may delay his purchase by 10-15 days if a huge sale is expected but wouldn’t wait too long. He, however, surely approved of the massive discounts available during flagship sales.
When asked why he wouldn’t buy the items offline, he said, he does go to stores to compare prices but the discounts are mostly better online and there is the added ease of not having to necessarily buy something just because he took a trip to the market or a mall.
On functionality and usage of electronic items, the software engineer said, even if one buys something offline after checking, chances of finding faults are few, it’s only after using the product for some time that one understands its features and therefore, online buying is better, given the discounts and replacement option.
While discounts dictate online shopping decisions for Verma, be it electronics or grocery, which he buys regularly, for Khanna it has to be the ease of not having to take time out to step outside and the range of choices offered.
“They keep having these sales through the year. Definitely some tier-two or tier-three cities might get attracted towards it but I think it’s not for us now,” the Delhiite, who mostly checks the lifestyle, fashion and basic dailies section, said.
Meanwhile, Verma shared his refunding experience with respect to grocery. Since he orders monthly grocery from Flipkart, if a few products happen to be delivered spoilt, he complains about them and is refunded on most occasions.
So, as the popular opinion goes, online shopping experience not only differs from individual to individual but also differs from site to site.
Khanna added that she does miss the retail therapy but digital shopping offers a much smoother experience. “At any given point, I can just scroll through hundreds of products, some of which may not even be available at the brand stores. The exchange and returns are easy. There’s the facility of instant money, so this is easier for me,” she said.
However, the 28-year-old recently tried to purchase a mobile phone offline and there is something a retailer said that stayed with her. When Khanna told him about the cheaper price online, the retailer said, “all those vendors (selling online) are from outside. So would you rather pay your Indian retailer Rs 500 more or would you like to have like Rs 500 in your pocket and pay to some imported retailer?” And, she bought the product offline.
This, however, does not mean she’ll stop shopping online but will surely be more mindful about where she wants to spend her money.
Meanwhile, while Amazon statistics could not be accessed immediately, Flipkart on October 3 said early access for Flipkart Plus customers to the Big Billion Days sale saw a 40 percent growth as compared to last year. “Interestingly, 45 percent of customer demand has been from tier 3 cities and beyond signalling a strong preference for high-value goods/ items,” the e-commerce site added.
On the other hand, Orion, a brand that sells choco-pie, a popular festive season gift product, via Flipkart and Amazon, said it has seen a 3X jump in daily sales during the flash sales on e-commerce websites.
“Indians are price-conscious consumers and love to wait for good discount deals before buying discretionary items. A combination of promotions, discounts and exclusive festive packs fuel the buying urge among consumers,” Saurabh Saith, CEO, Orion India, told CNBCTV18.com.
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