Amazon Great Indian Festival vs Flipkart Big Billion Days to generate close to $4B online festive sales

As the festive sales begin, ecommerce giants Amazon and Flipkart will not only battle each other for the share of online shoppers but also hope to beat India’s economic slowdown.

The annual extravaganza of sales will begin shortly across India as ecommerce giants Amazon and Flipkart usher in the festive season. This year, there is added pressure given the backdrop of an economic slowdown but there is optimism that online shoppers would discount this element.

Similar to last year, Flipkart and Amazon are conducting their six-day festive sales, Big Billion Days and Great Indian Festival respectively, simultaneously. 

As the two ecommerce giants put their best feet forward to attract a higher share of online shoppers, there is likely to be a change in overall trends as well.

Higher sales

Satish Meena, Senior Forecast Analyst of Forrester, says,

“Online retailers in India are expected to generate about $4.8 billion in sales during this year’s festive month (September 25 to October 29), mitigating the impact of the general economic slowdown.” 

Around 80 percent of these sales are expected to happen during the six days, which is around $3.8 billion.

RedSeer Consulting, in its note, said, “E-tailers are on track to sell $3.7 billion of goods during the festive event, which is a 65 percent year on year rise.” This consulting firm feels that the key drivers of growth will be the expansion of online shoppers with product categories being broader. In essence, mobiles are unlikely to be at the top.

“Continued festive days growth is in-line with overall annual growth of the industry, which is on track to grow 32 percent for the whole of 2019 to reach $32 billion for CY19,” says RedSeer.

Slowdown blues

This year’s annual festive sale comes in the backdrop of certain changes for the ecommerce industry in the country. During the early part of this year, the government had brought in certain regulations that the ecommerce industry thought to be restrictive.

At the same time, there is also a general economic slowdown, which raises doubts on the spending power of consumers.

Satish, in his note on the festive sale season, says, “The shift in spending from offline to online and a slow first half will help push sales. Several factors contributed to the slow growth that online retailers experienced in the first half of 2019. These include a disruption due to the implementation of a new ecommerce policy in January and February, and the slowdown in the overall economy. However, these factors will have a limited impact on festive season sales as consumers will look for better deals and get a boost from marketplaces launching new products and offering aggressive discounts and affordable financing.”

In 2018, online sales during the festive season were estimated to be in the range of $2.3 to $2.9 billion. This year, the number is most likely to exceed. 

New favourites

However, certain changes are likely to happen in the 2019 festive edition sales. Mobiles are unlikely to be the top selling category and may be overtaken by consumer electronics.

“There is a wider trend of mobile sales growth slowing down and it accounts for a lesser share of GMV in 2019 than earlier years,” says RedSeer. It expects consumer electronics and fashion to be the preferred categories. The other surprise could be the furniture category.

This year’s festive season sale could also show the definite emergence of shoppers from Tier II and III locations. These are the geographies where Flipkart and Amazon are putting in their best efforts.

During the announcement of the Big Billion Days sale, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO – Flipkart Group, had said,

“The Big Billion Days is a time for the whole country to come together and celebrate, without worrying about budgets or constraints. At Flipkart, we’ve worked hard over the past year to prepare for The Big Billion Days and we look forward to collaborating with the whole ecosystem to deliver the best festive season yet.”

However, according to Satish, online sales in this festive season is likely to grow by around 32 percent, compared to the growth of 90 percent seen last year. He says, “The 30 percent growth is still good, given the consumer sentiments prevailing in the market. There is a decline in the consumer spends in the market.”

This is also not the time for consumer ecommerce companies to just tap into the festive mood as others like Walmart expanded its wares. Krish Iyer, President and CEO, Walmart India, says, “Over the years, our ‘Best Price’ Cash & Carry Stores have become a destination for ‘Festive Range’ for our kiranas and other small businesses. We’re proud to present a refreshing range across all our stores this year too, which includes products of our own brands, and new and differentiated items sourced from SME suppliers.”

This year, an aggressive clash between Flipkart and Amazon is all set to capture the mind and wallet share of online buyers. Satish says, “Both are aggressive. But compared to last year, Flipkart is more aggressive.”

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)


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