Amazon claims top spot in e-commerce market ahead of 'Great Indian Sale'

Amit Agarwal, senior VP & country head for Amazon India
Global e-commerce major Amazon has staked claim that it has emerged as the leader in India's e-commerce market, overtaking local rival Flipkart, ahead of the crucial festival sales.

While Amazon is yet to disclose the dates for its annual ‘Great Indian Sale’, insiders said it might start from the third week of this month. Local rival Flipkart, with a $4-billion cash chest, expects to grow sales two to three times compared to last year, during its five-day ‘BigBillionDays’ sale that will begin on September 20.

“We have attained leadership position in India. In every parameter — traffic coming to our platform, app downloads, daily active user base — not only internal data but according to independent studies, we are far ahead of the competition,” Amit Agarwal, senior vice-president and country head for Amazon India, said in an interview.

Last year, Flipkart fought back an aggressive Amazon with its flagship sale and retained market leadership, which helped it attract long-term investors such as Tencent and SoftBank. Flipkart also claims it continues to be the market leader.

Since the launch of Prime in July last year, Amazon has burnt millions of dollars to get thousands of new users to sign on and remain locked into its ecosystem. It has launched a video-streaming service to retain users, began offering grocery to consumers and launched Amazon Pay.

This time, Amazon has doubled up on everything from product portfolio, logistics and sellers, among other things, to cater to the festive season. “We have literally added one more Amazon before the festive season. This is going to be the biggest sale we have had during the four years we have been in India. We have a portfolio of 160 million products, 225,000 sellers, 41 fulfillments centres, 5 million products eligible for Prime and pantries for our grocery play in 30 plus cities, among other things, to make this the biggest Diwali sale in the country,” Agarwal said.

Amazon and Flipkart will have to face the aggressive Alibaba-backed Paytm Mall this year. Paytm Mall is offering deals from small offline stores similar to what it offers online. Paytm Mall has a Rs 1,000-crore war chest to woo consumers. It has brought in over 1,000 brand stores and 15,000 brand-authorised retailers, selling over 65 million products, on its platform.

Flipkart,  which is celebrating its tenth anniversary will offer selection across 80-plus categories on the back of exclusive partnerships. It will also offer no-cost EMI, buyback guarantee and ‘buy now pay later’, among other things.

Agarwal said that while the company has eye on profitability, they are not going to shy away from making more investments at this point.

“We will attain profitability overtime, but right now our focus is on creating more infrastructure, get more people on our platform, create an environment where our operations move the GDP of the country. For all that we will not shy away from investing more in India,” he said.

Agarwal, however, is not only confident of Amazon’s leadership position but believes that it would get further reinforced after the festive season sale. The company is also making its grocery play stronger and would be one of the key areas of focus. Last year Agarwal raved out how people bought daily use grocery items from Amazon during the festive season. The company also plans to expand its offline shopping initiative Udaan in tier-III and tier-IV towns in 21 states. 

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