It is no secret that we Indians love our festivals and sales equally. And with the growing trend of online shopping, we seem to be in the golden era of spending sprees. All we need is an occasion. Dussehra, Diwali, Christmas, New Year or Black Friday. The festive discounts are just the kind of incentives which make us stay up all  night, obsessing over which website is offering a better deal on what product.

The e-commerce retail market in India is estimated to be worth US$ 12 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) terms as of 2016. By 2034, we will overtake US to become the second largest e-commerce market in the world

Online shopping websites are therefore always coming up with festive sales and mega sales to lure more buyers. And when you add festivities to this equation, it turns us into maniacs. The case in point is the onslaught of Black Friday online sales.

For us urban Indians, our knowledge of the American way of life is courtesy sitcoms and movies. There are so many rituals and local references that we are yet to understand. Yet, we end up inculcating them in our lifestyle anyhow. Be it the festival of Thanksgiving or the beginning of Christmas shopping season on the day after — commonly referred to as Black Friday.

In the US, shopkeepers and retailers offer heavy discount on Black Friday, leading to notoriously long lines in front of shops and malls. Sometimes people stand in line for hours and even engage in fist fights, simply to get their hands on the ‘best deals available’. The phenomenon of Black Friday has also entered the Indian market now, via e-commerce websites. And our wallets are beginning to get lighter.

With lucrative offers and the comfort of shopping from our homes, it seems logical to shop from these festive sales. We all have better things to do, than to spend our time and energy being stuck in traffic. But are the deals on online shopping websites as irresistible as they sound? Or is it just a clever marketing ploy, playing on our greed and hoarding instincts?

Many of these ‘once in a life time deals’ are offered to us at least ten times in a year. So, things that you don’t need for another six months will probably be available then as well, at a similar discounted rate, as it is now

We also tend to buy more than we intended to when we have a larger inventory at our disposal. At the end, it’s not as lucrative as it might initially seem to be, and soon the line between need and addiction blurs. Eventually, we end up spending our hard-earned money on things just for the sake of buying them at a discount price. After the festivities end and we sit down to evaluate our expenditure, we realise that we have no actual need for much of our binge purchases.

Online shopping opens a vast and diverse market for us. But it also lays out lucrative traps for us every now and then. The time and energy we save from shop hopping is spent hunching over our laptops and mobile phones, lost in virtual aisles of inessential products. Surely not an ideal way to enjoy the festival season!

What do you think? Do write in with your comments.

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