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Flipkart sets sight on matching Black Friday, Singles Day sale records

Yuvraj Malik/Bengaluru 11 Oct 18 | 08:08 PM

It’s just the first BigBillionDays (BBD) sale after US retail giant Walmart acquired majority stake in Flipkart this May, but the Indian e-commerce giant is already looking at smashing some international sales records set by global rivals Amazon and Alibaba.

In less than 24 hours, Flipkart claims to have sold 3 million smartphones, which is more than any other retailer in India in a single day. The company also said it sold one in four televisions globally in just the first 36 hours of its mega sale event.

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“For the first time, we can say we are matching the global scale this year. The last 36 hours have definitely matched the likes of Singles Day or Black Friday 3-4 years ago," said Smrithi Ravichandran, a senior director at Flipkart.

Amazon’s Black Friday and Alibaba’s Singles Day are massive online shopping events in the US and China, respectively, and are known to push global benchmarks of sales made by any retailer in a single day. For instance, Alibaba sold goods worth $25.3 billion during Singles Day in 2017.   

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“We are hoping to surpass some of those records by the end of this event," Ravichandran added, without disclosing the gross merchandise value (GMV) or number of units Flipkart shipped in the first one day of BBD. She claimed the value of items bought on Flipkart in the first 36 hours of this year’s BBD surpassed what the company sold during the entire five-day sale period last year. 

Rival Amazon, which opened up its sale 12 hours in advance of Flipkart on October 9, said that it witnessed a three-fold jump in sales over the same period last year. Both companies view the festive sales as an important platform to acquire new customers, while also building out scale, which then becomes a normal in the next year.

For Flipkart, the company’s newly-launched subscription-cum-loyalty programme, Flipkart Plus, saw huge traction with one in three products being bought by members. A big chunk of these buying decisions was made in the three-hour early access Flipkart granted its loyalty programme customers.

ALSO READ: Flipkart Big Billion Days sale: From MarQ to LG, best deals on televisions

“Private labels have contributed significantly for their categories. In the washing machine segment, 20 per cent sales were our MarQ brand and in air-conditioners, this was 30 per cent," said Ravichandran. Flipkart launched its MarQ private label in October last year and says it’s among the best selling brands on its platform today.

While Flipkart says it saw a much better spread of products being sold online this year, compared to previous years, where GMV was heavily skewed towards smartphones, mobiles continued to be the leading category from a value point. The maximum units shipped was claimed by the fashion category. 

This trend was also seen by Amazon, which claimed it sold one million units of Xiaomi’s 6A smartphone, which costs Rs 5,999. It also recorded Rs 4 billion worth of orders for OnePlus phones in the first 36 hours of the sale.

According to market research firm RedSeer Consulting, e-retailers could witness a two-time jump in sales at the end of the five-day festive sale period over last year. The firm has estimated this figure to be between $2.5-3 billion for 2018.

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