Election merchandise flying off the B2B ecomm shelves

The Economic Times

Election fervour started gripping the country on March 10 when the Election Commission announced the schedule for 2019 general elections.

NEW DELHI: Elections have turned out to be a good deal for business-to-business ecommerce companies, which have become a one-stop destination for campaign merchandise and accessories such as political parties’ flags, t-shirts and caps.

“It is quite a unique standpoint and needs a special mention, that in March 2019, the platform saw a substantial increase in number of enquiries of BJP flags, t-shirts and Congress Fatkas,” said a spokesperson of B2B e-marketplace major IndiaMART that has reported a 100% rise in demand for promotional items.

Its rival ExportersIndia has registered a 40% rise in demand for canopies, banners, billboards and flags, compared with the previous general elections in 2014.

T-shirts depicting various political parties and their symbols are especially in high demand, said Ankit Gupta, vice president at ExportersIndia. 

This, he said, is in contrast with assembly elections in Rajasthan and Telangana in December last year where customised merchandise saw a 20-30% rise in demand. 

Election fervour started gripping the country on March 10 when the Election Commission announced the schedule for 2019 general elections.

It will end with the announcement of results on May 23. More than 900 million people are eligible to vote in the elections.

“Majority of the election merchandise purchase is being done through B2B platforms as the volumes involved are huge for any B2C online firm to manage,” said a Delhi-based expert on ecommerce issues who requested not to be named. 

“Also, bulk buys mean large amount of money which can’t be paid through credit card.” 

Supporters and workers of political parties have been placing big orders for flags, badges, buntings, electoral symbols, tents, wristbands, headbands, banners, billboards, canopies, t-shirts and sound systems for their campaigns. This demand has jacked up the prices for these products.

“Price increase is commensurate with the rise in demand, at around 30% because these are seasonal products,” said Gupta of ExportersIndia.

B2B marketplaces generate leads for manufacturers, suppliers and exporters to trade with one other.

For ExportersIndia, overall leads have increased at least 20% week on week as April approached, Gupta said.