However this 12 months is especially vital because the world reels from financial fallout attributable to the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands and thousands of Indian customers 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 customers are literally in spending mode,” he stated, including that the roughly one-month gross sales interval is anticipated to account for 18% of India’s whole on-line looking 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 inexpensive items to the large variety of center and decrease center class web shoppers in India’s smaller cities, in response to Rajneesh Kumar, Flipkart’s senior vice chairman and chief company affairs officer.
“A major … variety of folks in India search for worth for cash,” Kumar stated. “When you present the fitting worth and the fitting 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 carried out by TRA. The market analysis agency reported that 10 instances 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 enhance client 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 in the case 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 sturdy 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 staff — 10,000 greater than final 12 months. Flipkart stated it employed 70,000 further warehouse and supply staff 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 customers in smaller cities and rural areas.
“We’ve equipped actually strongly for the festive season,” stated Minari Shah, director of public relations at Amazon India. Amazon’s Nice Indian Competition 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 web shoppers are loading up digital carts forward of time as they look ahead to gross sales to kick in. Retailers sometimes provide offers on style, smartphones and client 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 ahead 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 for the reason that pandemic began. In his condo 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 stated he prefers utilizing Amazon.
“The expertise has been fairly good and I intrinsically have extra confidence in Amazon’s product supply somewhat than Flipkart,” he stated.
Jio shouldn’t be a serious menace, for now
“Although it’s pretty nascent, JioMart is formidable, and with a cocktail of enticing reductions and cashback provides, will search to entice web shoppers,” 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, client electronics, clothes and households objects.
However JioMart plans to enter the fray quickly.
“Along with grocery, we’ll broaden 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 funding will come to construct that provide 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 targeted 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, 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,” stated Ram, including that firms are additionally choosing up new customers as rural elements of the nation come on-line.
“A number of the developments that we see this 12 months might be right here to remain,” he stated. “I don’t see a return to the way in which we have been.”