But this year is particularly important as the world revolves around the economic downturn caused by the pandemic coronavirus. Millions of Indian consumers are still wary of venturing into physical stores, and Meena expects online sales to grow by more than 34% to $ 6.5 billion this year.
“This is the time when consumers are really in spending mode,” he said, adding that about a month of sales The weather is expected to account for 18% of India’s total online shopping for 2020. “That’s why every company wants to win the battle during the festival.”
Flipkart competition during the festival
Flipkart’s seasonal Big Billion Day shopping event, began on Friday.
The company has built a strategy around selling affordable goods to a large number of middle and lower middle class consumers online in small Indian cities, according to Rajneesh Kumar, senior vice president of Flipkart and chief executive of corporate affairs.
“A significant … number of people in India are looking for value for money,” Kumar said. “If you give the right value and the right customer experience, you will win.”
Last year, the US firm was ranked as India’s most trusted online retailer in an annual survey conducted by the TRA. Market research firm reported 10 times more respondents said they trust Amazon more than Flipkart, which is second.
“Flipkart and Amazon are strong in the e-commerce wars, in terms of their product offerings, their initiatives to strengthen affordability and increase consumer confidence, and most importantly, their initiatives. in the final delivery, “said Prabhu Ram, head of the Industry Intelligence Group at research firm CMR.
Meena of Forrester agrees, noting that “no clear winner” has yet to appear.
But he added that when it comes to happy sales, Flipkart has an “edge in terms of the amount of money customers spend.”
That’s because Flipkart dominates online fashion sales, Meena said, adding that the company has a strong relationship with smartphone brands to offer huge discounts.
The importance of Diwali
Since then, they have worked to improve their supply chains – especially early in the festive season.
Amazon opened a new warehouse in Bangalore this month to handle the increase in holiday orders and hire 100,000 seasonal workers – 10,000 more than last year. Flipkart said it has hired 70,000 additional warehouse and delivery workers to handle the haste, a 20,000-person increase over 2019.
Both companies have also translated their platforms into multiple languages, which they said will help they reached more consumers in smaller cities and countryside.
“We are really committed to the festive season,” said Minari Shah, director of public relations at Amazon India. Amazon’s Great Indian Festival kicks off on Saturday, but members of the Main subscription program have access to deals a day in advance.
Like Flipkart, Amazon declined to talk about past or expected happy sales numbers, but Shah said “no doubt, [the holiday season is] a very important part of our calendar. ”
Like the US retail events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, India’s online shoppers load virtual carts in advance as they wait for sales to begin. Retailers typically offer deals on fashion, smartphones and consumer electronics, as well as holiday staples such as candles. , lighting and other decorations.
“Since I have to buy a pair of gadgets, I feel like I can wait a few weeks until the sale starts and get a better deal,” said Anshul Arzare, a banker living in Mumbai.
Arzare said he has seen an increase in online shopping since the pandemic began. In his apartment complex, “there is a designated place for the delivery of the boys, and at any given time you can find a boy in the Amazon there with 20 packages.”
The professional said he prefers to use Amazon.
“The experience has been great and I really have more confidence in delivering Amazon product than Flipkart,” he said.
Jio is not a major threat, right now
“Even though it’s a bit of a start, JioMart is ambitious, and with a cocktail of attractive discounts and cashback offers, seeks to attract online shoppers,” said Ram, of CMR.
JioMart did not respond to a request for comment for this story. For now, it only offers online shopping, leaving Flipkart and Amazon to emphasize it on deals in smartphones, consumer electronics, clothing and household items.
But JioMart plans to enter the fight soon.
“In addition to grocery, we will expand JioMart to cover electronics, fashion, pharmaceutical and healthcare in the coming days,” Ambani said at Reliance Industries’ annual meeting in July.
Flipkart said it welcomes more competition.
India’s growing e-commerce industry “requires a lot of land investment to build a supply chain,” Kumar said. “More players will be good because more investment will come to build that supply chain.”
Whether it is Flipkart, JioMart or some other e-commerce player, Shah said Amazon is trying not to get caught up in what rivals want.
“We watch them, but we are always more focused and obsessed with our customers than the competition,” she said.
The competition will only intensify. E-commerce sales account for only 5% of India’s total merchandise, according to a report in August from consulting firm McKinsey.
But now, because of the pandemic, “India’s digital economy is in a difficult state of decline,” Ram said, adding that companies are also gaining new customers while online areas in the country’s countryside.
“Some of the trends we see this year are here to stay,” he said. “I don’t see a return to normal.”