Online retailer Amazon will hold its flagship sales festival, the Great India Festival, from the midnight of 29 September to 4 October, amid concerns of a slowdown in consumer demand that has spooked companies across sectors.
“We don’t see any sign of a slowdown. That’s because e-commerce per say is so small that it will take a lot of time for any slowdown to hit what is the smallest size of the business," said Manish Tiwary, vice president of category management, Amazon India.
The e-retailer, which continues to add sellers to its platform, will roll out better financing offers for shoppers and back the event with print campaigns in local languages over the next few days.
The company has lined up 500,000 sellers on its platform in run-up to the festive sale, a sharp rise from the 380,000 sellers it had on-boarded last year.
Over the last few years, online sales have gained prominence for shoppers across India on the back of attractive discounts and offers.
Last year, Amazon rolled out a Hindi version of its shopping site to reach a large swathe of middle-income shoppers. This year, the inventory in the Hindi interface will be available for more shoppers “so you will now be able to shop in Hindi across any of your digital touchpoints, which was not the case last year as it was only on the Android app and on limited inventory," said Ravi Arun Desai, director of mass and brand marketing, Amazon India. The e-retailer is also extending its no-cost EMI offers across both debit and credit cards. It will also extend the duration of some of these EMIs to 6-12 months depending on the product categories. “What we have done is we have been able to get some affordability levers such as bank partnerships, so that customers are able to avail these as they make high value purchases," said Desai.
The e-retailer’s annual festival sale coincides with rival Flipkart’s Big Billion Day, which is also scheduled to be held from 29 September to 4 October and comes at a time when shoppers in India are holding back on big-ticket spends.
On Monday, research firm Kantar said e-commerce sales dipped in the first half of the year.
Consumer spends dropped by 21%, even as average ticket size fell 27% in a sign that shoppers were waning off e-commerce channels amid lower intensity of discounts and a general slump in consumer sentiment. Kantar studied 50,000 online consumers for the study that was first published in The Economic Times.
“Once considered ‘recession-proof’, online shopping has experienced a dip in H1 2019, in terms of buyers and spends. The average ticket price has also dropped, indicating that consumers are spending less on each purchase occasion," according to Kantar.