Author(s): Raghu Gopal
As the Diwali festival season arrives in India, so do online sales. Like every year since 2014, Flipkart and Amazon India are going head-to-head during this festival season. These sales are typically held ahead of Diwali, the most prominent Indian festival, which falls in November this year. Retailers view the sales period as a major opportunity to grow revenue by tapping into the seasonal demand.
During the past few years, annual Diwali online sales have begun to feature more prominently in India's shopping calendar. It's become a much-anticipated shopping opportunity inspired by Alibaba's Singles Day in China and Cyber Monday in the US.
Flipkart's five-day sale, called The Big Billion Days, started on October 10 this year. And so did Amazon India's five-day "Great Indian Festival", offering steep discounts on a wide range of products. Flipkart, Amazon India, Paytm Mall and ShopClues have lined up attractive offers and discounts in various areas to attract consumers to shop on their platforms. Over the five days of the sales, the gross merchandise value (GMV) of India's e-commerce industry came close to $2.5 billion, double last year's figure.
October 11 was the single largest day for smartphone sales in the country ,when Flipkart sold 3 million devices. Smartphones account for nearly half of Indian e-commerce companies' GMV and is easily the most important category for top online retailers such as Flipkart and Amazon.
Flipkart has the financial backing of Walmart, enabling it to take on Amazon in its escalating fight for market share in the Indian online retail market. In May, Walmart acquired a 77 percent stake in Flipkart for $16 billion, its largest-ever deal.
Last week's Diwali sales performance reflects fierce — and intensifying — competition between Flipkart and Amazon in India. While both have reported record numbers for the season, it's too early to predict which company will emerge as the overall winner. However, Flipkart was proud to claim record smartphone sales for the season, which was likely to have bene the result of exclusive deals with companies like Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, Oppo, Vivo, Lenovo and Xiaomi.