diwali deepavali festive

Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is a major shopping season in India. Pic: Pixabay

India: Flipkart comes out on top of e-commerce race to conquer Diwali sales

E-COMMERCE giants Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal sold 41.5 million items during their five-day sales in the lead up to the Diwali holiday in India.

The festive sales had been billed as a potential decider for the future of the country’s e-commerce sector with many speculating whether domestic firm Flipkart could hold onto its leadership position under challenge from US-based Amazon.

In the end Flipkart came out on top, selling 15.5 million items – 70 percent more than last year’s Diwali sale. That compared to Amazon’s 15 million items and the 11 million achieved by the other large domestic player Snapdeal. But all three companies broke previous records and are hailing the success of the sales, according to Quartz.

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“This has been a bumper sale and Flipkart’s execution has been much stronger and it is evident,” Anil Kumar, founder and chief executive of RedSeer Consulting, told the Business Standard.

“Flipkart had tied up a lot of exclusives for the sale. They had over 16 smartphone brands, television collections, ahead of others. This has helped them a lot.”

The sales were so successful RedSeer Consulting had to up its estimate for collective gross merchandise value (GMV) for this month from an earlier figure of US$1.5 billion to US$1.7 billion, to US$1.7 billion to US$1.9 billion, according to the Economic Times.

Promisingly, the majority of orders for all three major players have come from smaller cities rather than the big metros. Amazon said orders from so-called Tier 2 cities and smaller accounted for 70 percent – 17 times more than last year – while Flipkart claimed 60 percent.

Snapdeal told ET roughly 80 percent of its orders were placed on mobiles, which they believe was driven by smaller cities where broadband access is poor but mobile Internet is readily available.