As the dust settles after big discounts unleashed by e-tailers in their annual festival sales, it’s time to take stock. While Flipkart wound up its five-day ‘Big Billion Days’ sale between September 20 and 24 and Amazon India followed suit with its four-day ‘Great India Sale’ from September 21-24, online e-commerce industry clocked a 40% growth in sales at $1.5 billion (Rs 9,000 crore), according to data released by market research firm, RedSeer Consulting. In the same festival sale period a year ago, the e-commerce industry had generated sales worth $1 billion. Industry watchers point out that unlike last year’s festive season when FMCG and grocery were the highest-selling categories on Amazon India, this year, both Amazon and Flipkart generated a majority of their sales from smartphones, large appliances, fashion and lifestyle, apart from home and kitchenware.
“Last year, one of the reasons behind the category doing well in terms of sales was because dussehra was at the beginning of the month. While this year grocery and FMCG did witness an increase in sale in terms of number of units sold, there were other categories, such as smartphones, large appliances and fashion, which witnessed an increase in terms of value of sales,” said Manish Tiwary, VP – category management, Amazon India.
Amazon India claims that membership of its paid ‘Prime’ subscribers grew over four times during the four-day sale. Also, on day one and two, one in every three orders was placed by a Prime member.
According to Amazon India, sale of smartphones witnessed a 2.5 times growth, led by brands such as Samsung, Redmi and OnePlus. Likewise, large appliances witnessed a four times growth in sales, led by brands such as LG, Bosch and Whirlpool. Washing machines and refrigerators posted a four-fold growth in sales and air-conditioners grew by three-fold. Homegrown e-commerce firm Flipkart claims that there wasn’t any change in the category mix, with electronics and smartphones contributing to more than 60% of its sales during the five-day sale period. “We continued to focus on our key categories. While smartphones contributed to 58% of overall sales, 15% came from sale of large appliances, with the fashion and lifestyle category too playing a prominent part during the sale,” explained Smrithi Ravichandran, senior director at Flipkart.
Flipkart claims that during this year’s Big Billion Days sale, it notched up 70% of the entire online e-commerce market in India. The e-tailer added that 1.3 million smartphones were sold over its portal in the first 20 hours, higher than the total number of smartphones sold across India in a single day, both through online and offline channels. Flipkart claims to have a 70% market share in the online smartphones market. Moreover, according to Flipkart, it has recorded a 100% increase in number of shoppers over last year. The e-tailer claims that around 30%-35% are new customers who hadn’t shopped on the platform before. About 55% of the new consumers belonged to metros and tier-I cities, while the rest was from tier II, III, IV towns and villages.