Indian Ecommerce firms take Silent Approach to Market Independence Day Sales
Ecommerce majors, Flipkart and Amazon India chose a silent approach to marketing their Independence Day sales to avoid regulatory scrutiny over deep discounting practices. The online marketplaces treat Independence Day as a precursor to other major campaigns that run through the festive season. This time however, they remained cautious as India’s competition watchdog investigates several of the industry’s business practices.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is presently investigating allegations of deep discounting by e-marketplaces. The government is proposing several changes like seeking to include related parties and logistics service providers as an e-commerce entity, ban flash sales and mandating that the listing of local alternatives should be given while selling imported goods. These proposals have been criticised by e-commerce companies.
“There is so much distraction going on with regulatory probes and ministers telling traders to compile their complaints and submit to CCI. Why do we need to invite more trouble by advertising across all media about it even if deals are from brands and sellers,” said a top executive.
Both Amazon India and Flipkart conducted Independence Day sales from around August 8 but they did not draw their attention back to products discounts. This year, some of the country’s biggest conglomerates have advertised more during the Independence Day sales. Whereas in previous years, marketing promotions in both digital and traditional media for the I-Day sale events were largely from Tata Group’s Croma and JioMart.
“We saw less marketing from the (online) platforms this time and it was even lesser than that the (spends) during Prime day which happened in July,” said a top seller on Amazon India.
The industry players ranging from the online marketplaces to sellers, brands and analysts are hopeful that the festive season which begins from early October, will clock 40-50% higher sales as compared to the last year.
On August 9, the Supreme Court ruled that etailers like Amazon India and Flipkart must face the CCI probe. After that commerce minister PiyushGoyal told traders to compile their issues against e-commerce firms and share them with the competition watchdog.Etailers including Amazon India, Flipkart and the Tata Group have raised major concerns over the draft e-commerce policy.
Amazon India and Flipkart are both expected to start flagship sales in early October. The festive month sales are important for all stakeholders as they generate at least 40% or more of their annual sales.Flipkart has seen a recovery of more than 80% in sales as compared to the period before the second Covid-19 wave hit India.A report by consultancy Bain & Co noted that e-commerce grew by 35% in India in 2021 and reached $38 billion.
“We are anticipating good sales during the festive season. The preparations are underway and so is stocking inventory,” said AnkurDayal, CEO of Primarc.
Bain & Co reported that India added 30-35 million new online shoppers since the onset of the pandemic here. This takes the total to 140 million. It is on its way to hit the 150 million mark in the coming months.AmitavaSaha, the co-founder of logistics startupXpressbees, expects this year’s sales in the festive season to be higher than the last year.