By Asmita Dey & Kritika Agrawal
This was perhaps the last big discount sale offered by online majors Flipkart and Amazon before the new guidelines framed by the government for marketplace e-commerce firms come into force from February 1.
Though estimates are still not available regarding the gross merchandise value netted by the two online firms in discount sales, which began on January 20 and ended on January 22/23 for Flipkart and Amazon, respectively, attractive discounts were available on a host of electronic products.
According to estimates by market research firm RedSeer Consulting, in the previous such discount sale during October-November 2018, the online players had netted a GMV of around `15,000 crore. The amount is expected to be in the same range or higher.
For the latest round of sale, Amazon stitched an exclusive partnership with LG to launch its V40 ThinQ smartphone at `49,990. Customers were offered free screen replacement worth `16,750 within six months from the date of purchase. Further, discount of `5,000 was available if customers gave an old smartphone in exchange.
On televisions, BPL’s 32-inch HD television was on offer for `9,499 against the original price of `19,990. On apparels, discount were up to 70-80%.
As far as Flipkart is concerned, it launched Honor 10 Lite, 64 GB smartphone at `13,999. Apart from it, premium handsets like Samsung Galaxy S9 plus (64GB) and Pixel 2 XL (64GB) were on offer for `52,900 and `67,900, respectively, down from their original price of `64,900 and `73,900. The e-tailer claims to have sold more than one crore units of the Redmi Note5 pro smartphone where the starting price was from `10,999. On televisions, Flipkart was offering discounts of up to 75% and up to 30% on gold coins and jewellery items.
“We continue to see great excitement for the Great Indian Sale on Amazon.in. Customers across the country are shopping for deals by lakhs of sellers,” a spokesperson at Amazon said without elaborating further. Flipkart did not respond to FE’s queries.
From February 1, the new guidelines for marketplace e-commerce firms come into play, according to which exclusive tie-ups with product players are not allowed. Also, the online player cannot sell products of any seller where it holds equity stakes. Similarly, if any seller procures more than 25% of its products from the B2B arm of the online players, those products cannot be sold on their B2C platform.
Players like Amazon and Flipkart have sought an extension of the February 1 deadline, but so far the government has not accepted their demands. Analysts, therefore, see the current round of sales as a means to clear their inventories.
“While the numbers are yet to be out for the big sale days, e-commerce companies seem to have stepped up their discounts over similar sale periods in the past possibly to clear their stocks before the new policy comes into effect. In categories like apparel, it’s a normal practice to offer discounts at the end of season to clear stock,” said Ankur Pahwa, partner and national leader – e-commerce and consumer internet at EY.