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E-tailers ‘Appy’ As Sales Draw In More Shoppers

Last week’s mass-scale, heavily marketed sales by India’s biggest e-tailers appear to have succeeded in drawing Flipkartmany millions more to online platforms, and especially to buying on mobile phones.

Flipkart said it sold products worth Rs 2,000 crore on its platform during the five-day ‘Big Billion Days’ (BBD) shopping festival that concluded on Saturday. Last year, when it first conducted a sale on this scale, it sold Rs 600 crore worth of products in a single day.

Amazon India said the first day of its sale last week was the biggest day ever for in terms of revenue. “It was two times bigger than our previous big day which was The Great Indian Freedom Sale (held in August this year ahead of Independence Day) and four times bigger than last Diwali,” it said.

Snapdeal, which started its sale on Monday last week, said that by Thursday, it had shipped five million products. The company said that it had sold Rs 500 crore worth of mobile phones, and saw 3.5 times growth in new users.

Flipkart’s sale this year saw eight million units being bought. Around half of these came from tier-2 and smaller towns. Apparel and mobile phones accounted for 65% of the sales, followed by electronics and home appliances, and home furnishings.

Amazon said 65% of its orders came from tier-2 & -3 cities. The fashion category grew by almost 5 times as compared to last year’s Diwali.

This year, a lot of the focus was on getting users to use mobile apps rather than websites. Flipkart restricted its sale to those using the mobile app, part of its on-going effort to move to an app-only mode. Mukesh Bansal, head of the commerce platform at Flipkart and co-founder of Myntra which Flipkart acquired, said the app-only strategy helped it cement it as the best mobile commerce platform in the country. About 95% of Flipkart’s sales last week came from the mobile app. Though there were glitches for a short while on the first day of the sale, the general experience was much better than last year when Flipkart was forced to apologize to customers for both a poor online buying experience and subsequent issues related to cancellation of orders.

Snapdeal said that during the sale last week, its app saw five million downloads during the sale. Amazon said traffic from mobile was over 70% and lakhs of new customers came from cities like Aurangabad, Malappuram, Dhanbad, Kannur, Tiruchirappalli, Jamshedpur and others.

Flipkart too saw around five million app downloads during this period. “In preparation for Big Billion Days, we had improved our app and reduced the size from 14MB to 10MB. Overall, the app experience is very fast and smooth,” Bansal said.

Describing app as the future, he said, “We are very happy that our competitors are continuing to use the desktop. I wish they keep using it. We are happy with the choice we made (of going app only).

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