“Spiritual e-tailers like OnlinePrasad chant profit mantra this festive season” – Times of India, 5th October 2014

BANGALORE: The past 45 days, beginning from Janmashtami, have seen brisk online sales of spiritual products. Spurred by the ongoing festive season, there is hectic shopping online. And purchase of items such as idols, yantras (a mystical diagram that brings good luck) and prayer accessories are the highest ever.

Sales of prasad (a religious offering from temples) online is at a frenzied peak, with Bangalore-based niche e-tailer OnlinePrasad set to triple its revenues by the end of Diwali as compared to its mid-August figures.

Shopclues, an online marketplace of 25,000 merchants, is currently selling around 400 yantras a day the most popular one being the Mahalakshmi yantra, which is supposed to bring wealth and happiness.

Radhika Ghai Aggarwal, co-founder and CMO of shopclues.com, claims the startup’s spiritual and religion category is at present clocking a 700% sales growth over last year.

OnlinePrasad, which is networked with 50 temples across the country, has seen the average ticket spend for prasad double to Rs 2,000, led by a consumer group above the age of 35.

“Consumers are opting for combo offers (with a minimum of three prasad offerings), which is four times the ticket value of a single prasad order,” says Goonjan Mall, CEO and founder of onlineprasad.com.

During the just concluded Dasara celebrations, a majority of prasad orders were from the temples of Vaishno Devi, Shirdi Sai Baba and the Mahalakshmi temples in Kolhapur and Mumbai.

The whole effect of tripling of revenues, says Mall, is also because of incremental growth in new customers who are shopping online this festive season.

NCR-based furniture and home decor e-tailer FabFurnish has actually seen a quantifiable 3% to 4% increase in new customers, purely driven by its religion and spirituality category, which went live a month ago.

“Last year we were caught unawares by the demand for products related to spirituality, which is why we took a conscious decision to establish a dedicated category this year. The results have been good, with average per person spend in the category having doubled to around Rs 1,800,” says Vikram Chopra, founder and CEO, fabfurnish.com. The top selling products include idols and prayer accessories like puja thalis.

Besides buying spiritual products for one’s house, Chopra sees a trend where consumers are shopping for the same products for gifting purposes.

And the spiritual trend seems to cut across the e-commerce spectrum, with lifestyle e-tailer Fashionandyou reporting a 50% spike in sales of spiritual products, which is part of its home and living category.

While the months leading up to Diwali typically see a spike in demand for spiritual products, e-tailers say there is enough scope for the category to sustain the growth momentum throughout the year.

“India is a country of festivals. There are at least two to three festivals per month,” says 26-year-old Mall of OnlinePrasad, who estimates the spiritual category to be around $4 billion in size. Chopra of FabFurnish adds that the purchase of Ganesha and Buddha related spiritual products happens all through the year.

Original post – http://retail.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/e-commerce/e-tailing/spiritual-e-tailers-like-onlineprasad-chant-profit-mantra-this-festive-season/44383886