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Flipkart, Amazon claim huge boost from festive season sales

LiveMint logoLiveMint 24-09-2017 Anirban Sen

Bengaluru: Flipkart and Amazon India, the country’s largest online retailers, have surpassed sales from last festival season’s sale events by a considerable margin, driven by strong demand for smartphones and televisions.

Flipkart’s sales doubled from last year, the online retail firm said in a statement on Sunday evening. Flipkart claimed it accounted for at least 70% of total e-commerce sales in India during its five-day Big Billion Days sale which concluded on Sunday, indicating it had beaten Amazon by a wide margin.

Amazon India declined to comment on its performance in comparison to Flipkart.

Flipkart’s sales and volume were yet again driven by categories such as smartphones and large appliances. Earlier during the week, Flipkart claimed that it sold at least 1.3 million smartphones during the first 20 hours of the sale launch for the category.

Mint could not immediately ascertain the exact figures that both Flipkart and Amazon reported during the sale events, since both Big Billion Days and the Great Indian Festival were to conclude a few hours after this story went to print.

Last week, Flipkart had claimed that it was on track to double sales from last year’s Big Billion Days sale—which would indicate gross sales of at least Rs6,000 crore (nearly $1 billion). Neither Flipkart nor Amazon commented on exact gross sales figures. The sales figures cited above also include sales from Flipkart-owned units Myntra and Jabong.

Gross sales are net of discounts but before product cancellations and returns, which tend to jump during sale events.

“This Diwali for us at Amazon.in was the biggest shopping event ever—the largest in terms of units, sale value, sellers, number of customers, number of pin codes we served, etc.,” said Manish Tiwary, vice-president, category management, Amazon India.

For Amazon, the Prime subscription programme continued to be a big growth driver. Sales from categories such as smartphones and large appliances helped shore up gross sales. Amazon said growth from smartphones more than doubled, while sales from large appliances more than quadrupled from last year. Last week, Amazon had said that sales of mobile phones grew 150% while those of large appliances such as TVs and washing machines jumped by 3.7 times from last year on Day 1 of the five-day sale.

“Prime membership continues to be our highest selling product—this is a trend that continues from last Diwali,” added Tiwary.

The strong sales from both Flipkart and Amazon provides a much-needed boost for India’s growing online retail market, which had witnessed a stagnation in the pace of growth earlier this year. The robust sales season sets the stage for India’s top e-commerce firms to finish the year strongly and could well be the turning point for a sector that has been plagued by sluggish expansion over the past one and a half years.

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