04/11/2015 2:14 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Google's GOSF To Shut Shop After Competition From Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal

TO GO WITH 'SRI LANKA-IT-TELECOM-BROADBAND' An Internet surfer uses his mobile phone at a shopping mall in Colombo 15 September 2007. Home to some 1.5 billion people, South Asia is paying a high price to access the Internet as service providers have been slow to deliver cheaper broadband connections, analysts say. The region has embraced telephones, mobile phones and computers and India has a flourishing software and outsourcing industry, noted industry watchers at the first South Asia Broadband Congress here earlier this month. AFP PHOTO/Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

In a telling sign of the extent to which Indian e-commerce companies have matured, Google has said it would discontinue with the its ‘Great Online Shopping Festival’ (GOSF) starting this year. Though only 2 years old, GOSF began as the Indian version of the American 'Cyber Monday,' when retailers offer deep discounts to offload winter stocks.

Nitin Bawankule, industry director - eCommerce, local & classified, Google India blogged that GOSF had served its purpose, as users no longer needed to wait 12 months for a great discounted deal. "The pace of growth and the impact eCommerce companies are driving in India has gained significant momentum and we are very pleased that we were able to play our part in this journey in India. GOSF in many ways was a catalyst in boosting consumer confidence to shop online and we are grateful to all our partners and buyers who contributed in making GOSF, the largest online shopping festival not just in terms of scale but also in impact," he added.

Noble as that sounds, there were grim challenges that the GOSF faced. Two people told Mint that many e-commerce firms, including Flipkart and Snapdeal, "showed no interest" in a 2015 GOSF because they were expected to cough up $2 million each on Google Display Network, social media and online videos.

Tech Panda says that GOSF 2013, was rife with software glitches with the dedicated shopping portal crashing. This however has been a common ailment for most of the e-shopping sales days offered by retailers.

India, by Google's reckoning, had 130 million Internet users with only 8 million Indians shopping online, and the total online shopping industry was around $2 billion. Three years later, India has over 350 million Internet users and over 50 million online shoppers projected to reach 100 million by 2016 and the industry is said to be over $10 billion. Most of India's storied e-commerce firms begin their discounted-sales days around Dusshera and time it with festival seasons.

The Economic Times also says that GOSF, that was also aimed at encouraging small and medium businesses to sell their ware online, was also finding it tough to unite bitter rivals Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, who often "took potshots at each other" and were involved in online skirmishes for dominating India’s fast-growing e-commerce market.

Google India claims GOSF wasn’t planned to be a long-term event.

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