However this yr is especially vital because the world reels from financial fallout attributable to the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands and thousands of Indian consumers 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 yr.
“That is the time when customers are literally in spending mode,” he mentioned, including that the roughly one-month gross sales interval is predicted to account for 18% of India’s complete on-line searching for 2020. “That is why each firm desires to win the battle in the course of the festive interval.”
Flipkart’s aggressive edge in the course of the festive season
Flipkart’s seasonal procuring occasion, Huge Billion Days, kicked off on Friday.
The corporate has constructed its technique round promoting inexpensive items to the massive variety of center and decrease center class web shoppers in India’s smaller cities, in response to Rajneesh Kumar, Flipkart’s senior vp and chief company affairs officer.
“A big … variety of folks in India search for worth for cash,” Kumar mentioned. “In the event you present the best worth and the best buyer expertise, you’ll win.”
Final yr, the US agency was ranked as India’s most trusted on-line retailer in an annual survey carried out by TRA. The market analysis agency reported that 10 occasions as many respondents mentioned they trusted Amazon than they did Flipkart, which got here second.
“Flipkart and Amazon are neck-to-neck within the e-commerce wars, when it comes to their product choices, their initiatives to bolster affordability and enhance shopper confidence, and most significantly, their last-mile supply initiatives,” mentioned 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 in relation to festive gross sales, Flipkart has “an edge when it comes to the amount of cash clients spend.”
That is as a result of Flipkart dominates on-line vogue gross sales, Meena mentioned, including that the corporate has robust tie-ups with smartphone manufacturers to supply huge 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 yr. Flipkart mentioned it employed 70,000 extra warehouse and supply employees to deal with the push, a 20,000-person enhance over 2019.
Each firms have additionally translated their platforms into extra languages, which they are saying will assist them attain extra consumers in smaller cities and rural areas.
“Now we have equipped actually strongly for the festive season,” mentioned 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] a vital a part of our calendar.”
Just like the US retail occasions Black Friday and Cyber Monday, India’s web shoppers are loading up digital carts forward of time as they look forward to gross sales to kick in. Retailers usually provide offers on vogue, smartphones and shopper electronics, in addition to vacation staples like candles, lights and different decorations.
“Since I want 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,” mentioned Anshul Arzare, a banker who lives in Mumbai.
Arzare mentioned he has seen a spike in on-line procuring for the reason that pandemic began. In his house advanced, “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 mentioned he prefers utilizing Amazon.
“The expertise has been fairly good and I intrinsically have extra confidence in Amazon’s product supply quite than Flipkart,” he mentioned.
Jio just isn’t a serious risk, for now
“Although it’s pretty nascent, JioMart is formidable, and with a cocktail of engaging reductions and cashback presents, will search to entice web shoppers,” mentioned 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 are going to broaden JioMart to cowl electronics, vogue, pharmaceutical and healthcare within the days forward,” Ambani mentioned at Reliance Industries’ annual assembly in July.
Flipkart mentioned it welcomes extra competitors.
Rising India’s e-commerce business “requires a lot funding on the bottom to construct provide chain,” Kumar mentioned. “Extra gamers are good as a result of increasingly more funding will come to construct that provide chain.”
Whether or not it’s Flipkart, JioMart or another e-commerce participant, Shah mentioned Amazon tries to not get caught up in what rivals are as much as.
“We watch them, however we’re all the time extra targeted and obsessive about our clients than with the competitors,” she mentioned.
The competitors will solely intensify. E-commerce gross sales account for simply 5% of India’s complete gross merchandise worth, in response to an August report from consulting agency McKinsey.
However now, due to the pandemic, “the digital economic system in India is within the throes of taking off,” mentioned Ram, including that firms are additionally choosing up new customers as rural components of the nation come on-line.
“A number of the tendencies that we see this yr can be right here to remain,” he mentioned. “I don’t see a return to the way in which we had been.”