Bengaluru: E-commerce firms Amazon India and Flipkart have reported a blockbuster festive season with sales in October coming in at three times the average revenue recorded in months without sale events, the online retailers said Monday. Amazon India website drew the highest traffic in India and also generated the highest transactions, head of Amazon.com Inc.’s India business, Amit Agarwal, said in an interview, citing IMRB data.
“More than half of India’s online shoppers shopped on Amazon.in this festive season, according to that data. Additionally, more than 70,000 sellers received more than one order this festive season," Agarwal said on Monday. Sales of Amazon Prime, the company’s popular subscription programme, doubled from those of last year, he added.
“We exceeded our most ambitious plans across all dimensions in terms of new customer growth, unit sales and in terms of GMS (gross merchandise sales) and Prime growth," said Agarwal.
Flipkart countered Amazon’s claims of market leadership.
“We’ve managed to maintain the market share (lead) of 70-30 during this BBD (Big Billion Days), we believe," said Smrithi Ravichandran, senior director at Flipkart. “We’ve ensured that we’ve retained the leadership and more in categories like mobile, large appliances and fashion. From a GMV (gross merchandise volume) standpoint, we’ve grown by over 90% from last year."
The festive season face-off between Flipkart and Amazon is the biggest annual showdown in the Indian e-commerce industry and usually sets the tone for the market share battle between the two rivals over the subsequent quarters.
Mint had reported last month that Flipkart and Amazon posted record sales in early October, underscoring the revival of e-commerce in the country. Amazon India holds its Great Indian Festival sale that is rivalled by Flipkart’s flagship event, The Big Billion Days (BBD).
Amazon India mostly runs neck-and-neck with Flipkart (on a stand-alone basis), but it typically lags Flipkart during big sale events, especially BBD. While Flipkart was still the market leader during the sale, Amazon closed the gap with Flipkart this year, driven by strong sales of Xiaomi and OnePlus phones, Mint reported last month.
E-commerce firms typically generate a large part of their annual sales in festival months when customers spend big on phones, television sets, appliances and clothing.
This was Flipkart’s first BBD event after its $16 billion sale to US retail giant Walmart. The strong showing by both Flipkart and Amazon during the festive season sales sets the stage for what will be an expensive and intensely competitive market share battle between the two companies over the next year.