Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's efforts to remonetise the market seems to be showing results with e-tailers reporting record sales as the festival season opened. Amazon.in, which started its festive sale on Saturday, said it has seen its "biggest ever opening" and said premium smartphones worth Rs 750 crore were sold within 36 hours.
Amazon's archrival Flipkart, backed by American retail giant Walmart, said it had seen twofold rise in sales on the first day of its 'Big Billion Days (BBD)' sale compared to the opening day of last year's sale, according to a report by the Economic Times. The sale closes on October 4.
Sitharaman has been meeting various stakeholders in an effort to reverse the economic slide that has reportedly brought the gross domestic product (GDP) growth to less than 6 percent. The slide has led some economists to cast doubts on the country's ability to achieve the target of $5 trillion economy by 2025 as declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Despite the concerns in some quarters, major e-commerce players including Amazon and Flipkart have been upbeat about posting strong growth in the festive sales, the report says.
Early reports suggest e-commerce companies could ring in close to $5 billion worth of sale this season. "With the single largest day of Prime sign-ups, and a record number of customer and seller participation, this is the biggest opening day sale for Amazon.in," the report quoted Amazon Global Senior Vice President and India Country Head Amit Agarwal as saying.
About 91 percent of its new customers came from tier II and III towns with fashion and smartphone categories emerging as the top segments, he said.
Amazon India said a large number of customers were reaching the platform through the Hindi interface launched last year. "Affordability programs enabled a record number of customers to upgrade to premium phones with sales from premium offerings of OnePlus, Samsung, and Apple exceeding Rs 750 crore within 36 hours. Large appliances and TVs saw record sales over the 36 hours with nearly 10X from an average business day," Agarwal was quoted as saying.
He added that growth was seen across categories like fashion (five times), beauty (seven times) and groceries (3.5 times) during the first day of its Great Indian Festival compared to usual business days.
In an indication of rural liquidity improving, Agarwal said about half of its sellers were from tier II or lower cities, and over 42,500 sellers received at least one customer order in the first 36 hours of the sale. "Over 55,000 artisan products across more than 270 unique arts and crafts are available on the platform... over 2,500 sellers recorded their highest ever sale on a single day," he added.
Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said the company had set "audacious targets" internally. "By all indications, this is going to be the biggest festive season that India has witnessed," he said. "Affordability and value-driven themes clearly are the pulsating chords for India and Bharat. The number of transacting customers from tier II and beyond have doubled over last year's BBD sale on day 1," he said.