Online smartphone sales plummeting when compared to offline sales

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A few years ago, people dreaded buying electronic products online, but then came a sea of ecommerce websites that started selling assured genuine products, with amazing discounts that even people who were a little sceptical about the medium were tempted to try it out at least once. Well, that once was just a beginning. The coming years saw people literally becoming addictive to all the special occasions electronic sales and the flash sales that many brands did in association with a particular ecommerce website. But, now it seems, the times are changing.

According to a recent research report, online purchase of smartphones in India have nosedived to a great low in the first half of this year.

Various experts predict that the fall could be a result of the recent tightening of the ecommerce rules that took place in March this year. The strict-ing of the rules resulted in a number of ecommerce websites offering a fewer discounts than before, and several brands that were previously online-only like Xiaomi, Yu Televentures etc. to make their offline debuts.

The government in March had issued new rules for 100 percent FDI in the retail sector, under which the ecommerce players were strictly prohibited from influencing the prices of goods or services on their platforms in any way. This meant, they could no longer go for the deep discounting method to lure in customers.

According to data shared by Counterpoint Research, the share of online sales for smartphones plummeted by a good 5 percent from 37 percent for the six months ended December 2015 to 32 percent in the six months to June 2016. The share was 28 percent in the April-June quarter of 2015.

According to industry experts, the 5 percent fall is just the beginning and things can become even worse in the near future, as now vendors have realised the importance of having a robust offline distribution network.

While the Counterpoint Research report talks about a sharp fall in online smartphones sales, popular ecommerce sites in India are maintaining that this isn’t the case. According to them, at least their respective platform hasn’t experienced any of this and the smartphone sales on their platforms is still going very strong.

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