However this 12 months is especially vital because the world reels from financial fallout attributable to the coronavirus pandemic. Tens of millions of Indian buyers are nonetheless cautious of venturing into bodily shops, and Meena expects on-line gross sales to develop greater than 34% to $6.5 billion this 12 months.
“That is the time when shoppers are literally in spending mode,” he stated, including that the roughly one-month gross sales interval is predicted to account for 18% of India’s whole on-line searching for 2020. “That is why each firm desires to win the battle throughout the festive interval.”
Flipkart’s aggressive edge throughout the festive season
Flipkart’s seasonal procuring occasion, Large Billion Days, kicked off on Friday.
The corporate has constructed its technique round promoting reasonably priced items to the massive variety of center and decrease center class internet buyers in India’s smaller cities, based on Rajneesh Kumar, Flipkart’s senior vp and chief company affairs officer.
“A big … variety of individuals in India search for worth for cash,” Kumar stated. “When you present the correct worth and the correct buyer expertise, you’ll win.”
Final 12 months, the US agency was ranked as India’s most trusted on-line retailer in an annual survey performed by TRA. The market analysis agency reported that 10 occasions as many respondents stated they trusted Amazon than they did Flipkart, which got here second.
“Flipkart and Amazon are neck-to-neck within the e-commerce wars, by way of their product choices, their initiatives to bolster affordability and improve shopper confidence, and most significantly, their last-mile supply initiatives,” stated Prabhu Ram, head of the Trade Intelligence Group at analysis agency CMR.
Forrester’s Meena agreed, noting that “no clear winner” has but emerged.
However he added that on the subject of festive gross sales, Flipkart has “an edge by way of the amount of cash clients spend.”
That is as a result of Flipkart dominates on-line style gross sales, Meena stated, including that the corporate has robust tie-ups with smartphone manufacturers to supply large reductions.
The significance of Diwali
Since then, they’ve labored to enhance their provide chains — particularly forward of the festive season.
Amazon opened a brand new warehouse in Bangalore this month to deal with the spike in vacation orders and employed 100,000 seasonal employees — 10,000 greater than final 12 months. Flipkart stated it employed 70,000 further warehouse and supply employees to deal with the frenzy, a 20,000-person improve over 2019.
Each firms have additionally translated their platforms into extra languages, which they are saying will assist them attain extra buyers in smaller cities and rural areas.
“We now have equipped actually strongly for the festive season,” stated Minari Shah, director of public relations at Amazon India. Amazon’s Nice Indian Pageant begins on Saturday, however members of its Prime subscription program have entry to offers a day earlier.
Like Flipkart, Amazon declined to speak about previous or projected festive gross sales figures, however Shah famous that “undoubtedly, [the holiday season is] an important a part of our calendar.”
Just like the US retail occasions Black Friday and Cyber Monday, India’s internet buyers are loading up digital carts forward of time as they look forward to gross sales to kick in. Retailers sometimes supply offers on style, smartphones and shopper electronics, in addition to vacation staples like candles, lights and different decorations.
“Since I would like to purchase a few devices, I really feel that I can look forward to a few weeks till the sale begins and get a greater deal,” stated Anshul Arzare, a banker who lives in Mumbai.
Arzare stated he has seen a spike in on-line procuring because the pandemic began. In his residence complicated, “there is a designated space for supply boys, and at any given time you possibly can see an Amazon boy there with 20 packages.”
The skilled stated he prefers utilizing Amazon.
“The expertise has been fairly good and I intrinsically have extra confidence in Amazon’s product supply relatively than Flipkart,” he stated.
Jio just isn’t a significant menace, for now
“Although it’s pretty nascent, JioMart is formidable, and with a cocktail of engaging reductions and cashback provides, will search to entice internet buyers,” stated Ram, of CMR.
JioMart didn’t reply to a request for remark for this story. For now, it is just providing on-line groceries, leaving Flipkart and Amazon to duke it out over offers on smartphones, shopper electronics, clothes and households gadgets.
However JioMart plans to enter the fray quickly.
“Along with grocery, we’ll develop JioMart to cowl electronics, style, pharmaceutical and healthcare within the days forward,” Ambani stated at Reliance Industries’ annual assembly in July.
Flipkart stated it welcomes extra competitors.
Rising India’s e-commerce business “requires a lot funding on the bottom to construct provide chain,” Kumar stated. “Extra gamers are good as a result of increasingly more funding will come to construct that offer chain.”
Whether or not it’s Flipkart, JioMart or another e-commerce participant, Shah stated Amazon tries to not get caught up in what rivals are as much as.
“We watch them, however we’re at all times extra centered and obsessive about our clients than with the competitors,” she stated.
The competitors will solely intensify. E-commerce gross sales account for simply 5% of India’s whole gross merchandise worth, based on an August report from consulting agency McKinsey.
However now, due to the pandemic, “the digital financial system in India is within the throes of taking off,” stated Ram, including that firms are additionally choosing up new shoppers as rural elements of the nation come on-line.
“A number of the traits that we see this 12 months shall be right here to remain,” he stated. “I don’t see a return to the best way we had been.”