Amazon.in, which started its festive sale on Saturday, said it has seen its "biggest over opening" and claimed it has sold premium smartphones worth Rs 750 crore within 36 hours on its platform. Arch-rival Flipkart - which is backed by American retailer Walmart - also expressed exuberance saying it had seen 2-fold sales growth on the first day of its 'Big Billion Days (BBD)' sale compared to the opening day of the last year's festive sale.
Both companies, however, remained mum on the total business generated on the first day of the sale. The ongoing sale is to close on October 4. While there have been concerns around a slowdown in demand in some quarters, both Amazon.in and Flipkart have been upbeat about clocking strong growth in the festive sales.
Reports suggest e-commerce companies could ring in close to USD 5 billion worth of sale this festive season. "With the single largest day of Prime sign-ups, and record number of customer and seller participation, this is the biggest opening day sale for Amazon.in," Amazon Global Senior Vice President and India Country Head Amit Agarwal said.
Agarwal added that 91 per cent of its new customers came from tier II and III towns with fashion and smartphone categories emerging as the top shopping categories for these customers. The company said a large number of customers were coming to its platform through the Hindi interface that was launched last year.
"Affordability programmes enabled record number of customers upgrade to premium phones with sales from premium brands 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 pointed out.
He said that growth was seen across categories like fashion (5X), beauty (7X) and groceries (3.5X) during the first day of its Great Indian Festival compared to usual business days.
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 is available on the platform...over 2500 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 and "by all indications, this is going to be the biggest festive season that India has witnessed". "Affordability and value driven themes clearly are the pulsating chords for India and Bharat... Number of transacting customers from tier II and beyond have doubled over last year's BBD sale on day 1," he said.
Flipkart saw higher sales across categories like fashion, beauty, private labels and furniture compared to last year's day 1 of BBD, and the momentum will only grow stronger as mobiles and electronics sale to open on day 2, he said.
E-commerce companies, which see a large chunk of their sales during the festive season, start preparing for festive sales months in advance ramping up logistics and hiring thousands of temporary workers to ensure timely delivery of products. Other players like Snapdeal, Club Factory and others are also running festive sale on their platforms.
Traders body CAIT, however, has alleged that e-commerce portals during the festive sales are causing huge loss of revenue to the government by levying GST on the discounted price rather than on the actual market price of the commodity.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in a communication sent to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday charged that the e-commerce companies particularly Amazon and Flipkart through their festive sales are depriving the government with huge amount of GST revenue, a CAIT statement said.