Amazon, Flipkart claim top spot as festival season sales battle ends

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The country’s two premier e-commerce firms claimed top spot with their own set of numbers in mega festival season sales.
Even as the six-day flagship festive sale is coming to an end Friday midnight, Amazon and Flipkart said more than half their growth during this period came from new customers, especially those in smaller cities and towns.

While Walmart-owned Flipkart said the company had close to double the growth in terms of customer and transaction metrics during The Big Billion Days (TBBD) sale this year, rival Amazon said its growth was three times in its Prime member signups while over 50 per cent of its sales came from smaller towns. 

“This is the biggest TBBD for us since the company was formed. Customer and transaction metrics grew 60-100 per cent and even our merchants and sellers, who are among our most important stakeholders in the marketplace, grew 50-60 per cent,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, chief executive officer of Flipkart.

“We were focused on tier-II and tier-III cities, where we saw more than 100 per cent growth,” said Krishnamurthy.

Even though most analyst firms and experts are yet to come up with their numbers, Flipkart said it had been able to garner a market share of 70-75 per cent during this sales period. Similarly, quoting the figures of research firm Nielsen, Amazon said it dominated in the smartphone segment, and it garnered a value and order (volume) share of 46 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively. 

“We have received an overwhelming response to the fifth Great Indian Festival. With three times’ surge in Prime member signups in the country, more than 80 per cent of new customers coming from small towns, and orders from 99 per cent of serviceable pin-codes in just four days, we are humbled that is trusted by India,” said Amit Agarwal, senior vice-president and country head, Amazon India.

In the smartphone segment, Amazon said, the sale period was its biggest season ever with Xiaomi selling over a million devices while OnePlus managed sales of over Rs 400 crore in a single day.

Krishnamurthy said the firm had done well in the mobile phone segment. 

“Our closest competitor (Amazon) is a niche premium player, thus they do talk about premium categories and customers. We are a value player and we primarily play for the real India, for Bharat.” 

Almost 80 per cent of the country, he said, are value-conscious customers. “Two-three per cent of the population is the premium customer base. We do want to represent the real country, which is value-conscious,” added Krishnamurthy. 

In the mobile phone category, Flipkart claimed the biggest festive season sale this year, with brands achieving more than 2X growth over the TBBD ’18. More than 20 models sold over 100,000 units each during TBBD ’19.

Flipkart said it clocked 70 billion views during the six-day period while the company saw a huge surge of buying customers on the first day, September 30. By the close of the second day, the company claimed, more than 25,000 sellers had crossed the sale they had reported in the previous TBBD sale. 

Growth in large appliances for Flipkart was driven by tier II and III cities, with close to 50 per cent sales in places such as Nellore, Muzaffarpur, Salem, Dehradun, and Mysuru. 

Flipkart said it had become the largest furniture marketplace in the country, with nearly 2X growth in sales during the festive sale.
Another hallmark of this year’s festive sale was the rise in the number of customers opting for credit facilities. Flipkart said the share of transactions via the company’s credit options increased 70 per cent.

Amazon said there was huge demand for the EMI scheme, especially from customers in smaller towns. Customers opting for the EMI scheme, it said, grew 12X over an average business day and 2X over last year’s sale period.

“This six-day (of festive sale) period has been good for e-commerce and both of them (Amazon and Flipkart) might have met their targets. The top categories remain smartphone, fashion and TV,” said Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst at Forrester Research.

According to RedSeer, a consulting firm focused on internet businesses in India and Asia, e-tailers have made a strong start and achieved about $1.8 billion (Rs 11,500 crore) of GMV (gross merchandise value) in the first three days of the event.

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