A US-based website offering onions at heavily discounted prices in India has seen an “overwhelming” response as consumers reel from sky-rocketing prices of the vegetable.
Groupon, which offers cut-price deals on everything from restaurant meals to shoes and watches, offered onions at Rs9 a kg on Thursday.
By yesterday, 8,057 customers had bought the onions, used extensively in cooking.
Five thousand kilos of the vegetable had sold and the website had temporarily crashed.
“The driver behind this is obviously fun. It was meant to generate excitement by selling onions at a knock-down price,” Ankur Warikoo, chief executive of Groupon India, said.
The website advertised the deal in a tongue-in-cheek manner, claiming that “people haven’t experienced onions in a long, long time” and comparing them to caviar and diamonds.
It was the first time ever the company had put onions on sale and the response, Warikoo said, had been “overwhelming”.
“The first day itself we ended up selling 5,000kgs. Yesterday our site crashed completely for 10 minutes. It’s been absolutely fantastic.”
While food prices have risen across the board in India, the cost of onions has increased dramatically. The sharp spike has been caused by supply shortages, with a kilogram now costing around Rs60 in some retail markets.
Prices touched Rs100 a kg in recent weeks. “The current prices of onions (in the market place) have been a huge talking point,” Warikoo said. “We wanted to sell it at a price that most of us have completely forgotten. This kind of onion price was last seen in 1999,” he said.
The deal is on for the next five days, with customers barred from buying more than 1kg of onions. “We deliberately put the cap at 1kg. It is really intended to be something fun,” said Warikoo.