Bengaluru: Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd and Amazon India both claimed record sales numbers in their respective festival sales events over the weekend in what is turning out to be a fierce battle for supremacy in India’s e-commerce market.
Flipkart said it sold more than half a million products within an hour on the first day of its flagship Big Billion Days sales event on Sunday. Flipkart’s sale began a day after Amazon India started its Great Indian Festival sales.
Amazon India said the second day of its sales topped its Day One numbers. Amazon claimed a billion hits in the first 14 hours of the first day, saying it had more unique visitors during that period than in all five days of the same event last year. It sold more than 100,000 units in the first half-an-hour of the first day.
“In the first 12 hours, we clocked slightly ahead of 1.5 million units of sale, which again is a number that we’ve never experienced and I would assume it’s again a record for the Indian e-commerce industry," said Manish Tiwary, vice-president at Amazon India, in an interview on Sunday. “Day Two is shaping up to be even better than Day One."
Another marketplace, Snapdeal, said that more than 2 million users logged on during the first hour of sale, nearly 700,000 of them in the first five minutes alone.
The stakes are high for Flipkart in a face-off with Amazon over the festival season, when Indians splurge on a wide range of products. Amazon is already snapping at Flipkart’s heels. The US retailer recorded more sales than Flipkart on a standalone basis for the second consecutive month in August, Mint reported in September.
Flipkart said Sunday’s sale drew the highest number of concurrent users in the first five minutes of going live, 10 times more than an average day. The company said over 40% of customers who shopped for home appliances availed product exchanges. Flipkart said its unit Myntra, India’s biggest online clothing retailer, witnessed three times more revenue in the first hour compared with last year’s event.
Experts tracking online retail said it will be crucial for Flipkart to not concede further market share to Amazon.
“For Flipkart, it’ll be an achievement if they ensure that they don’t concede any further market share to the likes of Amazon," said Harminder Sahni, founder and managing director of Wazir Advisors.
“What we want to do during Big Billion Days is provide incredible NPS (net promoter score) experience—one of the things we’re trying to do without increasing costs dramatically is how to keep the NPS incredibly high during the event. I primarily view this event not for revenue, but for customer experience," said Ananth Narayanan, CEO of Myntra.
For this Big Billion Days, Bengaluru-based Flipkart has lined up exclusive partnerships with key smartphone and television brands such as BPL—a move that the online marketplace is hoping will give it a significant edge over Amazon.
The outcome of the Flipkart-Amazon battle could have far-reaching ramifications for India’s start-up ecosystem. A successful festive season for Flipkart will help it raise fresh funds and if Flipkart can retain its No.1 position, it would go a long way in reinforcing the confidence of global investors in India’s start-up ecosystem.