Amazon got orders from 99% of pin codes in just four days: Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal
After spending over a week cooped up inside the company's "war room" in Bengaluru, Amit Agarwal, senior vice-president and country head, Amazon India, claims to have emerged victorious. Wrapping up the company's "Great Indian Festival" sale, Agarwal in a conversation with Karan Choudhury claims it is not about taking down competition, in this case Walmart, which made its debut in the festive sale race via Flipkart, but bringing in more customers from the farthest corners of the country. Edited excerpts:



How was the festive sale for Amazon India? How do you think you have fared across categories?

Not surprisingly, it was our biggest sale ever. We have received an overwhelming response to the 5th Great Indian Festival, with sales in the first 36 hours nearly surpassing the entire first wave last year and the event exceeding our most aggressive plans across all categories. The Prime member signups saw a 3X times surge across the country, more than 80 per cent of new customers came from small towns, and we got orders from 99 per cent of serviceable pin-codes in just four days. We sold more premium phones than all of India online sales in a month. We have seen massive traction in the mass as well as premium segment. More than 63 per cent of the fashion sales happened from smaller tier-2 and beyond cities.


Did the Hindi side of the app see traction? Is it motivation enough to launch the app in other regional languages?

We saw new customers coming in on the Hindi side of the app increase 2.5X during sales versus a normal day. Hindi is a relatively new launch. I think in overall scheme of things when we have millions of customers it is unlikely it would be a large part. Its relative growth in the early stage is more important than absolute growth. If we just look around, customers in India are speaking so many languages. It is motivation enough to continue to expand more languages. We would want customers to shop in the language of their choice; Hindi is just first of our languages.


Are people from smaller towns opting for Prime membership?

Nearly 50 per cent of our Prime customers are from non-metros, clearly we are seeing a lot of adoption.


Next year do you see the sale transcend into the offline space, given that you have picked up a significant stake in 'More' retail chain?

Let us finish this year's sale. We still have 25 days to go this festive season. I don't have anything to speculate about what we may or may not do in future.


Was this a Walmart versus Amazon festive sale?

Just to see 99 per cent of pin codes shopping in a short period of time, for me that is exciting. It is very early for e-commerce and Amazon in India. Our vision is to change how India buys and sells. That is what we will continue to invest in. Every transaction is important for us to ensure that we delight customers and sale days are no different.  We remain paranoid everyday not because of what our competitors do but we know that customers will be with us till they find a better experience, and frankly, that is what we focus on. There is no publicly available unbiased data that provides market share segment in India, so any comment from my side would be speculation. I can only tell you about my data and based on our performance to see the degree of adoption and how Prime has been loved by customers as well as the way we have exceeded our targets, I am excited.

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