US online retail giant Amazon said sales jumped three times during the first 24 hours of the Great Indian Festival for 2018 compared to the same time period last year.
The company said members of its Prime loyalty programme bought three times the number of early access products they did last year in the initial 12-hour period. That trend continued into the first day of Amazon’s festive sale.
“The first day of our open sale has been our biggest shopping day ever. Just to call out key milestones — we estimate that we sold three out of four smartphones in the country on our first sale day, our large appliances business saw 30 times growth over a normal business day, and Amazon fashion was our largest category,” said Amit Agarwal, country head at Amazon India.
He said that customers availed credit of over Rs 3 billion during the first 24 hours of sale to buy large-ticket items such as television, refrigerators, dishwashers and smartphones. While a large chunk of this was driven by bank credit and debit cards, Amazon’s own cardless credit product saw massive traction.
Smartphones continued to dominate the sale for Amazon, both in terms of value as well as numbers. While fashion was the largest category in terms of units sold, the Xiaomi 6A smartphone, which retailed for Rs 5,999 on Wednesday, was the largest selling product on Amazon. The company’s own Fire TV Stick was the second best selling item, while it did not disclose the number of units shipped.
Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi ended up selling one million devices on Amazon in the first 24 hours of its sale, while premium brand OnePlus saw orders of over Rs 4 billion being placed for its devices. However, Agarwal said that smartphones would eventually be eclipsed by other categories in terms of driving sales, but they would need to be much larger as ticket sizes for fashion and others are still lower. This would take between three to five years, he said.
In terms of new customers, a lot of whom come to its site to get great offers on smartphones and electronics, Amazon said it saw three times as many new customers shop on its platform compared with last year’s sale. “If you look at a typical day for us, we get customers from both urban and semi-urban areas, but almost 80 per cent of them come from lower tier cities. I would assume that it would follow a similar pattern even during this sale,” Agarwal said.
While rival Flipkart, too, began its annual BigBillionDays sale on Wednesday, the company will unveil offers on smartphones only from Wednesday midnight. The Walmart-backed firm did not share indicative sales growth figures for the first day, failing to provide a comparison between it and its biggest rival Amazon.
The annual sales have typically been a time when Amazon and Flipkart get into war of words, claiming each outdid the other.
Independent analyst RedSeer said that last year Flipkart was ahead of Amazon in terms of gross merchandise value during the festive sales. This year, RedSeer expects the total industry gross merchandise value during the festive month to be between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, up from $1.5 billion last year.