According to Google, the Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) 2014 has been a bigger hit than expected. Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Google India said that the sale has surpassed his "wildest expectations", with high user traffic.
According to Anandan, Tata Housing - one of the partner merchants - saw 10,000 flats being booked on the first day of GOSF. Since each user has to spend Rs. 25,000 to do the booking, it's a major indicator of user engagement, Anandan pointed out.
Anandan also pointed out that the sales on sites like Amazon and Flipkart were up 100 percent during the GOSF sale.
Many of Google's seller partners are also reporting a similar experience. Interestingly, mobile wallet Mobikwik reports that it saw over 15,000 transactions via the wallet by noon on the very first day of the sale. The company added that it saw no slowdown in sales on the second day either, instead seeing a 10 percent increase in transactions per hour.
According to Mobikwik's findings, ShopClues was seeing the most transactions, followed by eBay and then Snapdeal in third place, though of course, this is limited by which merchants support Mobikwik's wallet for payments, and not a complete picture of buyer behaviour during the GOSF.
"We are most thrilled at the feverish pitch with which MobiKwikers are using their MobiKwik Wallet to shop during GOSF," said Upasana Taku, co-founder MobiKwik.
The company added that it is expecting food, ticketing and travel deals from providers such as Domino's, BookMyShow, and MakeMyTrip to pick up near the end of the sale, because of the approaching weekend.
According to Sitakanta Ray, Co-Founder and Director of comparison shopping website MySmartPrice, the big reason why shoppers are active on GOSF is not just the sales being offered, but also that Google's involvement provides a guarantee of safety in the buyer's minds.
He points out that compared to the 100 percent increase that Google is talking about for 2014, the GOSF in 2013 saw a much smaller impact - around 11 percent in site traffic compared to the previous month. He also pointed out that in 2013, while the top locations where visitors to MySmartPrice came from were New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad (in that order), only 47 percent of all visitors were coming from cities, with the rest coming from small towns.
This is extremely important because the bulk of India's population and new Internet users now reside outside the cities, and for e-commerce companies, tapping this audience is going to be critical.
Other sites that aggregate information about GOSF deals also saw spikes in traffic. "So far we have seen a very good response to GOSF," said Sameer Parwani, CEO and Founder- CouponDunia. "Our traffic increased 4x as compared to the daily traction on the website. There was a massive spike as soon as GOSF started during midnight however the traffic peaked the highest on the first day of GSF during lunch hours".
However, Parwani is a little less optimistic about this year's edition of the GOSF compared to the other people we heard from. "GOSF 2014 was comparatively lukewarm if we take the 2013 edition into consideration," he said. "One of the reasons for this is the kind and number of deals merchants provided compared to GOSF last year or even for that matter deals during Diwali a few months back. GOSF 2014 deals were both less in number and not providing as deep discounts as we'd expected."
Part of the problem is that other companies like Amazon and Flipkart's deals have also stolen the attention from GOSF. "Some of the bigger players have already exhausted their best offers due to their own festivals like Flipkart's Big Billion Day, Amazon's Appiness day and Snapdeal's ongoing 9 to 9 shopping fest," said Parwani. "Most of them have offered almost 40-50 percent discounts on regular days or their special days, so they do not have anything bigger than that to offer at the moment."