E-commerce giants Flipkart and Amazon have expanded the number of sellers on their platforms and ramped up selection in the furniture category as they gear up to compete in the upcoming festive season.
Walmart-owned Flipkart said it has more than doubled the number of sellers in furniture category on the marketplace since last year to over 10,000 sellers across the country, and increased its selection to over 3.5 lakh products to meet consumers' evolving demand.
These sellers, including small and micro furniture manufacturers, have been onboarded from various furniture clusters across Churu, Ratangad, Sardharsheher in Rajasthan, Jabalpur, Indore in MP and Saharanpur in Bihar, Flipkart said in a statement.
Amazon India Director (Large Appliances and Furniture) Suchit Subhas said over the last year, Amazon.in has enabled thousands of small sellers in the furniture category to get online and access a nationwide customer base.
He added that these include furniture sellers from several artisanal hubs of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh that are known for their unique furniture designs across the world.
"We have launched a 'Quality Verified' program that aims to educate and help sellers improve quality of their products by developing standardized product, packaging and catalog improvement guidelines based on industry best practices that will help sellers offer a great shopping experience to customers," he noted.
Flipkart said COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed new demand patterns across products categories, including furniture, as people spend more time at home.
With consumers now investing more in creating their own comfortable space at home, there is a notable increase in the demand for ergonomic furniture across furniture segments, it said.
While metro cities accounted for a large percentage of this demand before the pandemic, an increasing number of consumers from tier-2 and tier-3 markets are purchasing furniture online since the lockdown and now, with the festive season approaching, Flipkart aims to offer customers a one-stop destination for furniture shopping, it added.
Flipkart has also expanded its work from home (WFH) furniture seller count with brands such as Wipro and Featherlite by over 30 per cent.
It added that the company has strengthened its furniture business with an enhanced focus on availability, affordability, accessibility and quality to offer consumers easy access to online furniture across the country.
"Through our expanded pool of thousands of sellers, wide assortment and a pan-India reach, furniture as a category will play a key role in the growth of e-commerce in the years to come...The success of online furniture retailing, especially in the COVID period, also marks the tipping point of online commerce in India and highlights the growing consumer confidence in the value of e-commerce," Flipkart Senior Vice-President, BGMH, Furniture and Grocery, Manish Kumar said.
Over the past year, Flipkart has significantly expanded its delivery and installation services to take online furniture retailing to the farthest corners of the country, the company said.
E-commerce companies see a large chunk of their business coming in during the festive sales and they make significant investments ahead of time to ramp up their capacity to be able to handle the spike in orders.
Electronics, fashion and home furnishing are some of the categories that see a huge demand during the festive season.
As per a report by RedSeer, festive sales are expected to almost double this year and touch USD 7 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) as compared to USD 3.8 billion in the same period last year.
GMV is a term used in online retailing to indicate the gross merchandise value of products sold through the marketplace over a certain period.