Despite concerns around inflation and discretionary spending, millions of shoppers went online to grab special deals on offer as e-commerce firms, such as Flipkart, Amazon, Meesho, and Myntra, started their biggest festival season sales on Friday. Early trends indicate that consumer demand is better than what online retailers had anticipated, according to the sources.
The ninth edition of ‘The Big Billion Days’ (TBBD), Flipkart’s annual flagship event, witnessed the number of concurrent users on the app at 1.6 million per second. Flipkart’s chief rival Amazon.in, too, said it logged the biggest-ever 36 hours of shopping with Prime Early Access and Day 1 of the Great Indian Festival
Early trends indicate that the overall consumer sentiment towards festive shopping is positive. Categories, such as mobile phones, large appliances, fashion products, furniture, and home appliances, are garnering heavy demand.
“This year’s event is special for many reasons,” said Manjari Singhal, senior director-customer, growth and events, Flipkart. “These include the growing strength of our seller and partner ecosystem and innovations that have enabled access to greater inclusivity and affordability for consumers.”
Categories like laptops, smartwatches, and truly wireless earbuds witnessed the highest demand, as consumers showed an appetite for making high-value electronic purchases online.
The BGMH (general merchandise and household) category, too, saw traction. The makeup and fragrance category also saw high traction among consumers with kajal being the most in-demand product – one Kajal being sold every second.
Many senior executives, Flipkart said, themselves delivered shipments to the customers. The event marked the first in-person TBBD for employees after three years.
Amazon.in, on the other hand, logged the highest single day sign-ups on Prime — 1.9x higher than last year, with 68 per cent coming from tier 2 and 3 cities.
“We are humbled by the increase in new Prime member sign-ups and customers shopping across categories”, said Manish Tiwary, vice-president and country Manager, India Consumer Business, Amazon.
In the first 36 hours, small and medium businesses, start-ups, artisans, and women entrepreneurs offered the largest selection of products and sold around 1 million unique products to customers. During the 24-hour ‘Prime Early Access’, there was 1.75x growth in seller sign ups versus an average business day.
There was also a 90 per cent increase in flight bookings by Prime members as compared to an average business day. One of 4 purchases were made on EMI and 2 of 3 products were sold on no-cost EMIs.
Shopsy, the affordable e-commerce platform by Flipkart, drew a majority of customers from tier-2 cities and beyond. Here sarees, men’s t-shirts, and headphones were the most popular products. Shopsy, launched in July last year, recently crossed the 100-million users mark.
Most orders came from New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. Other cities driving demand were Berhampur, Howrah, Lucknow, Kolkata, Chennai, Jaipur, Karnal, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Visakhapatnam, Surat, Agra, and Ghaziabad.
Flipkart has significantly expanded its presence in tier-2 and smaller cities. An increasing number of its sellers and kirana partners are coming from these regions. This year as many as 1.1 million businesses, including those on Shopsy, participated in the Big Billion Days.
TBBD 2022 also witnessed greater participation from kirana stores under Flipkart’s kirana delivery program, as compared to last year’s edition. The number of kiranas partnering with Flipkart for TBBD deliveries grew from 27,000 kiranas in 2019 to 200,000 in 2022.
E-commerce retailers, led by Amazon and Flipkart, are expected to corner sales worth $11.8 billion this season, comfortably more than double the pre-pandemic figure of $5 billion in 2019, according to a report by RedSeer. This year’s numbers are projected to increase 28 per cent from 2021, which saw festival season sales of about $9.2 billion.