Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee

New Delhi, Feb. 14

THE growing popularity of Valentine's Day is translating into more moolah for e-commerce Web sites, which are seeing 300 per cent surge in traffic thanks to purchases by Netizens.

"Online sales in the run-up to Valentine's Day has surged about 185 per cent, with 2,000 orders this year compared with 700 orders last year. Valentine's Day, Diwali, and Rakhshabandhan are among the top money spinners for online sales," said Mr K. Vaitheeswaran, COO of Fabmall.com.

With an average order size of Rs 500-1,000, Fabmall has clocked Rs 10-20 lakh in the last 3-4 days.

"Flowers and cakes are the top-selling gift items. Gold and diamond jewellery has also been much in demand," he said, adding that the company has a tie-up with Blue Dart for delivery to consumers.

The company's promotional activity with D'damas had also clicked with the online users, he said, adding that jewellery sales on the Fabmall site had more than doubled this year.

According to Mr Gautam Thakar, Country Manager of eBay India, orders on its online marketplace have increased by 12 per cent during the Valentine's Promotion (February 1-15) compared to the previous fortnight.

Mr Thakar said that the purchase of jewellery on eBay was facilitated by special discounts offered by companies including Aura and D'damas.

"For instance, Aura announced a 10 per cent discount on all jewellery, while D'damas offered a discount of Rs 1,500 on purchases over Rs 5,000."

Valentine's Day brings in the largest amount of first-time shoppers who are typically in the 20-30 age group and whose spending power is less than Rs 1,000.

The regular shoppers, in contrast, place orders ranging from Rs 1,000-5,000. Popular categories in the gifting segment over the years are apparel accessories, flowers and chocolates. However, this year electronic gadgets, jewellery and toys have emerged as hot favourites.

Ms Preeti Desai, President of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), said that the growth in online sales for electronic gadgets and jewellery was a key indicator of increased consumer confidence in spending more money online.

As per the association's report, the business to consumer e-commerce market is estimated to touch Rs 2,300 crore in 2006-07 from Rs 570 crore in 2004-05.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 15, 2006)
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