Battle for online shoppers begins as Indians spend billions ahead of Diwali - CNN
Oct 17, 2020 1 min, 41 secs
Millions of Indian shoppers are still wary of venturing into physical stores, and Meena expects online sales to grow more than 34% to $6.5 billion this year.

"This is the time when consumers are actually in spending mode," he said, adding that the roughly one-month sales period is expected to account for 18% of India's total online shopping for 2020.

"That's why every company wants to win the battle during the festive period."

Flipkart's competitive edge during the festive season

Flipkart was India's single-largest online retailer in 2018 with 31.9% market share, according to the most recent report from Forrester.

Walmart bought the homegrown company for $16 billion in 2018.

Flipkart's seasonal shopping event, Big Billion Days, kicked off on Friday.

The company has built its strategy around selling affordable goods to the huge number of middle and lower middle class online shoppers in India's smaller cities, according to Rajneesh Kumar, Flipkart's senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer.

Last year, the US firm was ranked as India's most trusted online retailer in an annual survey conducted by TRA.

The market research firm reported that 10 times as many respondents said they trusted Amazon than they did Flipkart, which came second.

But he added that when it comes to festive sales, Flipkart has "an edge in terms of the amount of money customers spend."

That's because Flipkart dominates online fashion sales, Meena said, adding that the company has strong tie-ups with smartphone brands to offer big discounts.

The importance of Diwali

Flipkart and Amazon each faced enormous difficulty delivering orders across the country earlier this year as cities were locked down to combat Covid-19.

Since then, they have worked to improve their supply chains — especially ahead of the festive season.

Like Flipkart, Amazon declined to talk about past or projected festive sales figures, but Shah noted that "undoubtedly, [the holiday season is] a very important part of our calendar."

Like the US retail events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, India's online shoppers are loading up virtual carts ahead of time as they wait for sales to kick in.

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