Amazon Prime powers one of three orders during the Great India Sale

Amazon had invested to develop exclusive content for Prime Video and set up warehouses (pictured) to facilitate faster deliveries for Prime
Nearly 10 months after its launch, Amazon’s Rs 499 Prime loyalty service drove one of every three orders on the platform during its Great Indian Sale that started Thursday and ended on Sunday.


Prime is increasingly becoming a trend of how people shop on Amazon in India, following a global trend that sees customers signing up to the service and spending about twice as much as non-Prime customers.


“We saw Prime customers shopping very heavily in the sale, contributing anywhere from 35-37 per cent of the orders coming in. Also, sales tend to drive up this programme and during the first three days of the sale we acquired five times as many customers for Prime than on a normal day,” said Manish Tiwari, vice-president for category management, Amazon India.


With benefits of getting access to exclusive deals, faster delivery times and Amazon’s Prime Video platform, it is estimated that about six million individuals have already signed up for the programme in India. For Amazon, Prime provides customers who are far more likely to buy from it than any of its competitors.


Since its launch in July last year, Amazon has consistently reported elevated international losses for the past four quarters. That loss rakes up about $2 billion in the 12 months to March, a majority of which would be coming from the investments in India, particularly to develop exclusive content for Prime Video and set up warehouses to facilitate faster deliveries for Prime.


Tiwari said with the value Prime offers customers today, they would be “irresponsible” not to sign up for the service. Going forward, the focus will be more on categories that make customers shop multiple times every week rather than once every few months, such as groceries, etc.


“It’s the same basic thing that we see working across the world. One of the big things we see is all Prime customers are very active on all our grocery programmes, be it Pantry or Amazon Now. Going forward, we’ll keep on adding more of these things,” said Tiwari.


Apart from Prime being a big standout for the sale, Amazon also logged massive growth from its large appliances and fashion categories. While the sales of refrigerators and air conditioners were up 11 times and 15 times, respectively, over the same period last year, Amazon’s move to bring fashion brands, such as GAP, Marks and Spencers and Under Armour exclusively on its platform, paid off with a nine-time growth in sales over the period of the sale.


“Amazon fashion has done really well for us during this May sale season. As a category, it has now become the largest contributor in terms of units sold.”


Amazon’s biggest rival Flipkart — which beat the US company by a significant margin in the Diwali sales last year — says it is expecting a five-time growth in gross merchandise value of products sold on its platform during its Big 10 sale that started on May 14 and goes on till May 18. Being the tenth anniversary sale, the company says it has several scintillating offers for customers while the company is hoping to use the sale to kick-start its stalled growth engine.


The smallest of India’s three large e-commerce marketplaces, Snapdeal, too, held a two-day sale on May 11, taking on Amazon while a second sale is being held from May 14 to hopefully take on Flipkart. Sectoral watchers, however, seem to think Snapdeal is almost being ignored by consumers even as the company makes headlines for being in the process of getting sold to rival Flipkart.


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