Bargaining is always welcome in India. If we track the roots of haggling, probably it can be found in India. I can almost say that it is part of Indian culture to get the best value for money for every rupee spent. Given this background, it is surprising that a group buying concept didn’t originate in India.
Though group buying arrived a little late in India, it did not take very long for Indians to get used to it. Many have stopped counting but if they continued to count, there will be close to 50 group buying sites in India today. Almost everyone is in the group buying game. If everyone’s in it, someone has to win it. SnapDeal.com which had a village named after it, is the leader of the group buying pack. It had 1.5 million visitors for the month of June, 2011. Its closest rival is Dealsandyou.com with a near 1 million visitors. Mydala.com and Groupon’s Indian arm, Sosasta.com, are placed third and fourth respectively.
4.6 million Internet users aged 15 or over accessed a group buying site in June 2011. That’s 10.4% of India’s Internet population. Now, measuring India’s Internet users has always been difficult. As per estimates, India has anywhere between 50 million to 100 million Internet users.
1 in 10 Internet users in India have accessed a group buying site.
4.6 million visitors doesn’t mean 4.6 million deals sold. Far from it. The unique visitors only provides one face of the coin – popularity. The other face of the coin – profitability – is something the companies themselves can divulge. Yet the popularity of group buying sites shows us two strong trends –
- People can now find small stores and services which they otherwise would never find.
- Small business will get greater visibility without any extra effort from their side. Group buying sites will just find them and put them on the Internet.
The usage of Internet and eCommerce is growing at a rapid pace. There could be a separate discussion on the billion dollar valuations of Flipkart and recent acquisitions in the eCommerce space. But this is certain that with the popularity in numbers of group buying sites, this time around eCommerce is real and what it should have been all this while.
Is it a boom? Well, isn’t everything a boom of some sort.