Bengaluru: Online marketplace Amazon India on Friday said its sale event has started strongly with gross sales on day one of its Diwali sale in the two key categories of mobile phones and large appliances growing more than 150% compared with last year’s corresponding sale day numbers.

Sales of mobile phones grew 150% while those of large appliances such as televisions and washing machines jumped by 3.7 times on day one of Amazon’s Great Indian Festival sale compared with the year-ago event, Amazon said in a statement.

Mobiles and large appliances comprise a majority of sales for online retailers and the share of these categories rises during the Diwali sale.

On Thursday, India’s largest e-commerce firm Flipkart said it was on track to double sales from its flagship sale event Big Billion Days this year. If Flipkart achieves its target it would have clocked sales of roughly Rs6,000 crore during the five-day sale.

The strong start to the Diwali sale by both Amazon and Flipkart indicates that this year’s festive period could be the turning point for India’s e-commerce market that has been plagued by sluggish expansion over the past 20 months or so.

In large appliances, which is believed to be the next big growth driver for e-commerce firms, Amazon is pushing hard to catch up with Flipkart.

Over the past six months, Amazon has significantly expanded its product assortment and logistics network for large appliances.

In April, Amazon India said it has opened seven new warehouses to boost sales of high-priced products such as televisions, refrigerators and furniture. The new warehouses along with two others are being used exclusively for large appliances and furniture—categories that require online retailers to build an independent logistics network, unlike the one they use to deliver smaller products such as books, mobile phones and clothes.

Until then, Amazon India did not have an independent supply chain for large appliances unlike rival Flipkart.

“With our significant investments in the last one year to build strong brand relationships to bring customer selections, a dedicated fulfilment centre network for heavy and bulky products like large appliances, and the free installation services... have all been key factors why customers continue to shop so heavily for these appliances on our marketplace," said Manish Tiwary, vice-president, category management at Amazon India.

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