On the face of it, this looks like a ploy by eCommerce sites in India to clear their unsold inventory by offering big discounts or maybe they want to capitalise on the Indian netizens’ new found interest in Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. But we’re not sure if these are anything beyond just a marketing exercise. Both Citibank and Google are hosting online shopping festivals on two dedicated days – 5th December and 12th December.

Citibank has planned to offer discounts of up to 60% from seventeen eCommerce sites within a time frame of 24 hours on Wednesday, December 5, reports The Economic Times. The discounts will be restricted to Citibank customers. According to the report, Citibank might conduct a sale twice a year in India owing to the dynamics of the Indian market. Citibank also claims that it aims to promote e-commerce in India by the biannual event. It has named the event OMG sale. According to the report, the idea stems from the US where online retailers offer discounts on Monday coming after Black Friday, calling it Cyber Mondays.

Meanwhile, Google India has also partnered 50 eCommerce sites to launch the ‘Great Online Shopping Festival‘ on December 12, 2012. However, unlike the Citibank offer, Google is not offering discounts but is offering deals. Google has partnered with sites like Makemytrip, bagskart, quikr, lenskart, myntra, babyoye, healthkart, among others to offer deals. Customers can buy deals which are categorized into accessories, travel, home & kitchen, electronics, etc., deals. The buy button on each deal would be activated on 12th December.

Customers can also create wishlist by plus-ing (+1) deals on Google Plus. There’s also a counter on the website counting down until the start of the festival. As Google wants to promote eCommerce sites, it has also included a tips page where it educates users with basic online shopping FAQs.

Our Take: The timing of the discounts and deals seems to be odd. Although, December is the shopping season worldwide, the Indian customers are more or less done with their shopping, during the Diwali season. Apart from that, we are skeptical about Google’s online shopping festival. It looks more like an aggregation of discount deals from different eCommerce companies across both retail and services categories. Perhaps, it’s an attempt to collect data on popular online product categories in India, or Google is testing waters for expanding its Google Offers service in India. But on the face of it, this looks more like a marketing exercise. Most of the deals mentioned on the site are for discounts on a certain category of products. It’s not that difficult to offer discount coupons, and sites like PayTM* and Mobikwik offer similar coupons, free of charge with even low margin products such as mobile/DTH recharge.

Check out the video by Google on the festival:


Anupam Saxena also contributed to this post 

Disclosure: PayTM is an advertiser with MediaNama