Customers queue for the opening of a Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) store in Select Citywalk mall in the Saket area of New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg)

Indian Retailers Try To Create Black Friday Buzz This Year

Indian retailers of electronics and appliances have now embraced Black Friday, the beginning of festival shopping binge in the U.S. that lasts till Christmas.

After month-long festivities that ended with Diwali, Vijay Sales and Croma again lured buyers, offering discounts from Friday through the weekend.

“Retailers are trying something new, especially those selling electronics,” Mukesh Kumar, vice president at Infiniti Malls, told BloombergQuint. Not that the Diwali season was subdued as the sales rose about 12 percent on a yearly basis, he said.

The day after Thanksgiving—which falls on the fourth Thursday in November— is usually the busiest shopping day in the U.S. as retailers draw buyers with deep discounts. Black Friday, a term that has its origins in 1950s, has been known for big-ticket purchases by Americans for nearly three decades.

Also read: How America’s Swankiest Stores Do Black Friday

Back home, Croma offered LED televisions for up to 30 percent less than the MRP and a 40 percent discount on select speakers. Vijay Sales too offered discounts on televisions.

“As a retailer, we are looking for opportunities to create events. This year we decided to try out the Black Friday sale, which is more of a global shopping weekend,” Nilesh Gupta, managing director of Vijay Sales, told BloombergQuint. Sales were up by three times compared with the regular weekends, he said. Next year, Gupta said, the retailer plans offers on more products apart from televisions.

Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm Mall and other online retailers like Nykaa also offered discounts on Black Friday.

Sales were one-and-a-half times the usual days, a spokesperson for Paytm Mall said in an emailed response to BloombergQuint.

Amazon didn’t share the numbers but said more than 37,000 Indian exporters offered over 120 million products to customers worldwide during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping season.

Satish Meena, a New Delhi-based analyst at Forrester Research, is not optimistic about the trend catching up in India. “The timing is just not right for the Indian version of Black Friday sales,” he said, adding that it comes immediately after the month-long festival season.

The customer has no appetite left for purchasing, he said. “Even sellers would have exhausted their discounting capability.”

Meena said Walmart may also allow Indian merchants to sell products globally through Flipkart next year, but retailers shouldn’t bet a lot on these sales. “It will never be able to match the sales during the Diwali sale season. Marketing and discounting such sales will only increase the burden on sellers.”

The Paytm Mall spokesperson agreed that sales and awareness this year was mostly concentrated around metros and urban consumers. But the retailer is hopeful. “We foresee that over the next 3-4 years we will see something as big as Singles Day (China) or Black Friday in terms of scale in India as well.”