Sales surge on Flipkart, Amazon, despite slowdown

Banking on their annual Big Billion Days Sale and Great Indian Festival sale, the etailers claim record festive season numbers

Sayan Chakraborty
Published: Oct 7, 2019 12:18:15 PM IST
Updated: Oct 7, 2019 01:13:13 PM IST

Everything about entrepreneurship, the good, bad and the ugly of it, fascinates me. I take a keen interest on startups and venture capital firms and have written extensively on fundraises, M&As and business strategies. I can safely say changing tracks from engineering to journalism has been one of my best decisions. When not working, I indulge in almost every Indian's poison, cricket, playing or watching. I am a foodie and video game buff.

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Ecommerce companies, armed with discounts and flexible payment options, seem to have hit the right chord with consumers this festive season, despite a slowdown in spending. For the likes of Flipkart and Amazon, the festive sales account for at least 25-30 percent of their annual gross sales.

Redseer Consulting had pegged ecommerce sales during the festive sales (September 30-October 4) by Flipkart and Amazon at about $3.7 billion as against $2.3 billion the previous year. The firm expects about 32 million unique buyers, especially from smaller towns and cities, to shop online, as against approximately 20 million the year before.

“This year, etailers have taken a multi-pronged and category-customised approach to drive growth. We see this in examples like extensive credit availability to drive appliances growth, strong supply chain to enable furniture growth and the widest collection of brands and labels to enable fashion growth,” says Anil Kumar, CEO, Redseer Consulting.

Early numbers confirm Redseer’s predictions. Flipkart, for instance, claimed on the sale's first day that proceeds from categories such as beauty, women’s ethnic wear, kidswear, sports, private labels and furniture have surpassed the sales on the first day of the previous year. Also, customers from Tier II and beyond doubled from the previous year.

Initiatives to make products more affordable were also a big hit. Flipkart claimed that customers opting for affordability methods spent almost 2.5x times more than the others.

Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart, said, “By all indications, this is going to be the biggest festive season that India has witnessed. Ecommerce has lifted consumer sentiment and driven the industry to set new benchmarks.”

Amazon India claimed after the first day that fashion and smartphones were its best performing categories. Sales of OnePlus, Samsung and Apple phones surged past ₹750 crore, Amit Agarwal, global senior vice president and country head, Amazon India, told the Mint newspaper.

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(This story appears in the 25 October, 2019 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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