Instead of making the sellers bleed, experts say, e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart have roped in banks to offer discounts to buyers.
E-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart are expected to achieve sales of about $600 million during their ongoing sale events.
This is at least 25 per cent higher compared to the business these firms would have generated for such small-scale events during pre-Covid times, according to industry insiders and analysts.
The firms are also witnessing an increase in volume (number of orders), which is 40 per cent higher than the normal times.
Walmart-owned Flipkart is running the 5-day ‘Big Saving Days’ sale till Monday, coinciding with Amazon’s 48-hour Prime Day sale which ended on Friday night.
However, Amazon started another event on Saturday called ‘Freedom Sale’ which would end on Tuesday.
“These are not dominant sale events compared to Flipkart’s Big Billion Days and Amazon’s Great Indian Festival, but these firms are expected to witness sales of about $600 million,” said a person familiar with the events.
“In normal times these events would not have been big, but now there is less competition as shoppers are avoiding visiting stores.”
The firms have bounced back on better delivery and improved last-mile connectivity during the sale while discounts have remained largely minimal.
Sources say the firms are seeing a huge demand for electronic goods.
Amazon India witnessed bumper sales of smartphones during the two-day sale with “many items getting out of stock”, according to a person familiar with the event.
“There has been a good response for brands, especially in categories such as electronics, appliances and smartphones, as more people are working from home,” said Satish Meena, a senior forecast analyst at Forrester Research.
“The sales value would look good as the ticket size of these categories is big.
"However, this time, the companies are not focusing much on discounts on these categories as they are not seeing competition from the offline stores.”
Instead of making the sellers bleed, experts say, the firms have roped in banks to offer discounts to buyers.
Ankur Pahwa, partner and national leader, e-commerce and consumer internet at consultancy EY India, said the offers and tie-ups with banks are indicative of the efforts being made to reboot sales and liquidate stocks in those segments.
“Also, smaller cities are seeing a fair uptick in volumes in this sale period, both from value-conscious buyers as also from new users,” said Pahwa.
The China angle
Flipkart works with over 200,000 sellers and 250,000 small sellers such as artisans, weavers, and craftsmen, while Amazon has over 600,000 sellers.
Industry insiders said there is some push from sellers to offer deep discounts on Chinese products and sell them quickly amid anti-Chinese sentiments.
Sellers are also trying to quickly sell products in categories focused on summer, including vacation and travel, as the season is getting over.
Discounts and deals
The firms are offering deals on products ranging from smartphones, laptops to televisions and refrigerators.
During Prime Day sale, several handsets such as the OnePlus 7 range were sold at a discount of up to Rs 10,000.
Among Amazon devices, Echo Dot was available at up to 50 per cent discount.
Headsets and speakers including that of Sony, JBL and Boat were available at a heavy discount of up to 70 per cent.
This was the first event that was handled by the Amazon India team virtually while working from home.
“We had a 48-hour war room set up on Amazon Chime which went smoothly without any technical slowdowns,” said a spokesperson.
Sachin Taparia, founder and chairman of community platform LocalCircles, said while its consumer spending survey on e-commerce during the sale is still running, initial indication is that approximately 2 per cent of shoppers have spent more than Rs 10,000, while another 9 per cent of them have spent up to Rs 10,000.
Photograph: Thomas White/Reuters