Online sellers hope to continue their momentum
Online sellers hope to build on the momentum by capitalizing on the optimistic mood in post-Covid Nepal with the number of virus cases declining and the vaccination campaign gaining momentum.
As crowds stuffed with grocery bags swarm Kathmandu’s chic markets and historic bazaars like New Road, Durbar Marg, and Asan, online shoppers are also tapping their keyboards and buzzing internet store servers.
After virus restrictions were removed and people started leaving their homes to shop, e-commerce entrepreneurs initially feared their business, which was booming amid the lockdown, could be affected. . But they were pleasantly surprised to find that their fears were unfounded.
Amun Thapa, CEO and founder of Sastodeal, said sales have tripled from last year’s holiday sales. “Business is on a growing trend. All economic activities have opened, including street markets. But that didn’t hurt online sales, ”Thapa said.
“Nepal’s online market, which is worth 100 million dollars a year, will not be eclipsed even if people have started to shop physically through dedicated customers,” he said.
E-commerce entrepreneurs said shoppers felt more comfortable with online shopping. “The lure of online shopping can be seen this year with people in a festive mood after a year and a half of suffering from the pandemic.”
Lino Ahlering, managing director of Daraz, told the Post that the pandemic has dramatically accelerated the growth of e-commerce.
“Even though the market is packed with people, online sales have increased significantly by around 60%,” Ahlering said. Daraz has observed 100% annual growth over the past three years, he said.
Agreeing with Thapa, Ahlering said shoppers returning to the physical market have not reduced online sales because people are embracing digital payments at a rapid pace.
“As a result of reconciliations with various banks, nearly 95% of transactions this holiday season took place through digital payments, and only 5% were in cash on delivery,” Thapa told the Post. “The discount programs offered by banks on online payment have also supported the rise of digital payment,” he added.
Ahlering of Daraz said 50 percent of total transactions were online, mostly through e-wallets and cards, with the rest in cash on delivery.
According to Nepal Rastra Bank, online transactions through various digital payment platforms such as IPS, ConnectIPS, cards, online banking, mobile banking, wallet and Quick Response (QR), among others, amounted to 361.20 billion rupees in the first month of the current fiscal year started in mid-July, compared to 218.93 billion rupees in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
The trend of online shopping, initially limited to the Kathmandu Valley, has gradually spread across the country, online retailers said.
“Of the total online orders, 35-40% come from outside the valley. The figure was 20 to 25 percent during the holiday season last year, ”Thapa said.
“Online retail sales have experienced good growth in this festive period driven by consumers outside the valley,” he added. “This shows that the attraction for online shopping is also increasing outside the valley.”
Daraz observed 50% of sales outside the valley due to the increasing use of the internet and smartphones.
Considered safer, faster, and easier, people are turning to internet shopping to purchase products such as fast-moving consumer goods, clothing, and electronics.
Consumers are waiting for the holiday season to buy new gadgets and consumer electronics because domestic resellers and sellers are offering discounts and programs, but this year consumers have faced higher prices for televisions. and smartphones due to a global shortage of semiconductor chips.
“Televisions got more expensive this year as there was a shortage of cellphones in the market because we weren’t able to keep up with demand,” Thapa said. “There was a gap between supply and demand in the market this year.”
Groceries are still the top selling items online, followed by smartphones, clothing, and consumer electronics.
According to Thapa, after grocery shopping, cell phones are the top-selling item during the holiday season.
Daraz also observed strong sales of mobile phones, including consumer electronics.
According to the Customs Department, the country imported 1.49 million cell phones worth 10.36 billion rupees in the first two months of the current fiscal year.
Online clothing sales, one of the most popular purchases during Dashain, also performed well. “Casual fashion sales have returned with the reopening of the economy,” Thapa said. “The programs and offers have also encouraged online shoppers. “
Due to the high volume of orders and a delay in delivery, Sastodeal stopped receiving orders from midnight Wednesday in order to be able to complete deliveries before Phulpati, the sixth day of Dashain.
“We made 90% of deliveries before the start of the festival. We were taking orders until the start of the festival, which created a problem with deliveries, ”Thapa said.