Flipkart, Amazon expect boost in festive season sales

India’s top two marketplaces, Flipkart and Amazon, are expecting sales volume to surge 30-40% for the largest selling categories of smartphones, televisions, laptops and home appliances in the upcoming festive season, as leading sellers on these platforms have started to place large orders with the manufacturers, several executives of leading brands said.

Sellers and category teams in the marketplaces have already forecast such high growth to brands like Apple, Samsung, LG, Godrej Appliances, Xiaomi, Realme, Thomson, Kodak and Blaupunkt, they said.

But brick-and-mortar stores have yet to place festive orders since store timings are still restricted in some markets and malls continue to remain closed in Mumbai, though brands expect such orders to come from next month.

The marketplaces are, however, optimistic despite fears of the third wave of the pandemic, since whenever there was a Covid wave, the demand had largely moved online, the executives said.

“The ecommerce marketplaces are confident consumer sentiments will improve by Diwali with more vaccination, further increase in seropositivity rate in population, and a third wave, if any, will have limited impact on businesses,” said Kamal Nandi, who is the business head at Godrej Appliances and president of the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association.

Avneet Singh Marwah, chief executive of SPPL, the company that sells Thomson, Kodak and Blaupunkt TVs online, said the marketplace sellers have placed 35-40% higher order volume as compared to last year despite the massive price hike. “The festive season will coincide with cricket tournaments like IPL and T20 World Cup which too are expected to boost sales,” he said.

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Emails sent to Amazon and Flipkart remained unanswered at press time Thursday.

In last year’s festive season, smartphones, laptops and electronics had posted record sales in both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores, even as the contribution of ecommerce to total sales had shot up sharply.

Smartphones and electronics are the largest sales generator for ecommerce marketplaces, especially during the festive season, accounting for nearly 55-60% of total sales, the executives said.

A spokesperson at India’s largest smartphone maker, Xiaomi, said while there is a pent-up demand since June and healthy sales in July, it is hopeful the market will pick up momentum and the second half of the calendar year will be “really favourable owing to the festive season”.

This year, there has been a 10-20% increase in the price of electronic products including smartphones due to a global component shortage and price increase. However, the marketplaces are hopeful consumers will upgrade their purchases during the festive season and place more orders for mid-to-premium segment products.

The online festive season sales on the platforms start with the biggest sale of the year around Navratri and continue through multiple sales events till Dhanteras-Diwali. The month-long period accounts for almost 40-45% of the annual business of electronic manufacturers, retailers and ecommerce firms.

An executive at a leading electronics brand said the overall market should improve around Diwali, but the growth rate for ecommerce may not be as high as last year when it had shot through the roof.

“The huge growth rate of last year has already come down to around 25-30%, sales in recent promotions have been good but nothing spectacular, so we expect the channel should now consolidate,” he said.

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