Race on as Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal eye $1.5 bn in festive sales

The most-watched online sales on Sunday were about Apple and pizza, property and Harry Potter, attracting first-time buyers from Sangli and Hisar, while not letting the regulars from Delhi and Mumbai leave.

In response to Amazon’s first day score card — 1.5 million units sold in 12 hours — on Saturday, rival Flipkart on Sunday raised the bar, pegging the number of units sold at 2.25 million in exactly 12 hours.

This figure includes sales made by Myntra it acquired two years back.

The annual online war between the two biggest e-commerce players will continue through most of the week, with one trying to overpower the other with new stats on product sale, assortment, and discount, in the process telling investors who’s the biggest.

Watching the initial trends, analysts estimated that the top three e-commerce firms, Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, could end up with a combined sales of $1.5 billion, or Rs 10,000 crore, in the festive sale week that began over the weekend.

The third player — Snapdeal — is playing the “time” card more than anything else.

A promise of delivery within 50 minutes — just a little more than what it takes for a pizza to arrive — was the USP for the Kunal Bahl-led company. “We had the fastest delivery of the season at under an hour. An order for iPhone 5S placed at 7.20 am on October 2 was delivered to the buyer in Gurgaon at 8.10 am,’’ a company executive said.

If the speed of drone (so far the domain of Amazon) was what Snapdeal was hard selling, Flipkart made Apple its pitch. The Bengaluru-based e-commerce leader claimed it sold more Apple watches in 10 minutes than the total sale of Apple watches, online and offline, in a month.

Just the day one of the festive sales could generate around $300-400 million (about Rs 2,000-3,000 crore) in orders for the three e-commerce players, they said. Amazon had kicked off the sale on Saturday, followed by Flipkart and Snapdeal on Sunday.

Pundits are yet to identify a clear winner. Almost all the three players have done on an average $100 million (about Rs 700 crore) in sales, said insiders. Amazon may have done a little more transactions and may be a notch higher than Flipkart, a consultant said.

However it is too soon to decide any pecking order, he added. “This season has the potential to have $1-1.2 billion (Rs about 6,800-7,000 crore) worth of transaction happening predominantly due to the electronics and fashion categories,” said Sreedhar Prasad, partner, e-commerce and start-ups, KPMG India.

The weekend holidays saw more consumers shop online.

Snapdeal’s Unbox Diwali sale saw nearly 1.1 million buyers from over 2,800 cities and towns across the country buy on the platform in the first 16 hours of the sale. The company saw sales volume jumping six times of average volumes by 4 pm on Day 1.

The sale, which started at midnight with 180 orders being booked per second, got bigger during the day as buyers used the national holiday to explore a plethora of deals. “We are seeing consistent growth across all categories, with overall six time increase in volumes as compared to usual days,” Saurabh Bansal, vice-president, category management, Snapdeal said.

Among other things the Gurgaon-based e-commerce biggie sold 12 apartments and 846 motorcycles in a single day.

Amazon claimed that sales on the second day grew fivefold when compared to sales on the same day during last year’s Diwali sale. The US e-tailer said that it had sold 1.5 million units in twelve hours during the second day of its Great Indian Festival, taking its cumulative sales for the two days so far to six times its average daily sales.

Last year, the three players combined did a business of $1 billion (Rs 6,800 crore) during the same period.

WHAT HAPPENED ON DAY I

Flipkart
  • Flipkart and Myntra together sold 2.25 million units in the first 12 hours of the Big Billion Days
  • Sold more Apple watches in 10 minutes than the total sale of Apple watches online and offline in a month
  • Myntra clocked 3 times more revenue in the  first hour, compared to the 2015 edition
Amazon
  • In the first 12 hours, managed to sell over 1.5 million units
  • More than 100,000 units sold in less than the first 30 minutes
  • Microwaves saw a 30-time spike in demand
  • Consumer durables categories saw a 10-time growth
  • Diapers and baby products have witnessed an increase of 12 times
Snapdeal
  • At midnight, 180 orders booked per second
  • By 4 pm, more than 1.1 million people had made purchases
  • Orders went to nearly 52,000 sellers
  • People from 2,800 cities and towns placed their orders
  • Fastest delivery: An order for iPhone 5s  placed at 7.20 am on Oct 2 was delivered in Gurgaon at 8.10 am

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel