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Flipkart again pips Amazon in festive sales with 50% market share

17 October 2017

India's home-grown ecommerce leader Flipkart has once again topped festive season online sales this year, increasing its lead over Amazon India in a market where total sales are estimated to have surged by up to 40 per cent over last year.

According to a Times of India report, Flipkart's share of festive season sales increased to 50 per cent from 45 per cent last year, capturing much of the market lost by a relegated Snapdeal, as per industry estimates.

Amazon's market share during the month-long festive sales period is estimated to have remained unchanged at 35 per cent, though the company said it saw a 50 per cent share in other metrics like order volume and active customers.

Flipkart and Amazon India accounted for about 80 per cent of this year's overall festive season sales, according to analysts. The final phase of the mega sales events ends today. ''We expect online retailers to have sold goods worth $2.8-2.9 billion this festive season (beginning with Flipkart and Amazon's flagship sales in September), as compared to $2-2.1 billion last year,'' said Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst at Forrester Research.

''The large discounts and cashbacks on smartphones this festive season contributed to the growth in GMV,'' Meena said.

According to The Indian Express, which cited Jefferies, Amazon Seller Services clocked gross merchandise value of $400 million in the first leg of the festive season sale from 21-24 September, while rival Flipkart clocked $850 million during its five-day sale period in the same month.

According to TOI, Flipkart registered gross merchandise volume, or gross sales, of Rs4,300 crore during its five day Big Billion Days sale, up from Rs2,300 crore during last year's event (excluding fashion platforms Myntra and Jabong). Amazon registered Rs2,500 crore in GMV during its Great Indian Festival Sale in September, up from Rs1,800 crore last year.

Amazon India cited an independent report by Kantar IMRB to say ''the highest number of customers continued to place their trust on Amazon in the first two editions of Amazon Great Indian Festival Sale, with seeing nearly 50 per cent of both customer as well as order share for the festive sales so far''.

''The total sales would have touched $2 billion this festive season, compared to $1.5 billion last year,'' said Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail consultancy Technopak.

''The ecommerce industry annually sees sales of around $20 billion, so it is not likely that sales during one month would have touched $3 billion.''

A few payment processing companies pegged total festival season sales this year at $2.25 billion. However, product returns account for 20-30 per cent of total sales depending on category, which is likely to bring net sales down. Also, Amazon India calculates gross merchandise sales after eliminating the tax component on each unit and accounting for product returns and cancellations.

Apart from GMV, sales volumes also shot up during this year's festive sales, according to logistics service providers to ecommerce companies.

According to TA Krishnan, chief executive of Ecom Express, ecommerce shipments during this year's festive season sales hovered at about 4 million a day, up from 3 million during last year's festive season.

''High (average selling price) items such as smartphones and electronics saw at least a 35 per cent increase in volumes this year, which added to the GMV,'' ToI quoted Krishnan as saying.

The total ecommerce market size is estimated to have grown, thanks to aggressive marketing and steep discounting by online marketplaces and retailers. ''This year, both Flipkart and Amazon have been aggressively pushing to increase the total pie,'' said Rutvik Doshi, managing director at Inventus Capital Partners.

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