E-commerce giant Amazon on Tuesday said it will host its 'Great Indian Festival' from October 17 onwards with an emphasis on enabling small and medium businesses to sell more this festive season.
Unlike previous years, Amazon.in has not provided a specific end-date for the sale event saying its a "month-long celebration" that will coincide with the festive season from Dusshera to Diwali, and will see participation from over 6.5 lakh sellers. Prime members to get 24 hours early access starting October 16.
Amazon rival Flipkart is slated to host its annual 'The Big Billion Days' sale from October 16-21.
"This year's Great Indian Festival is an opportunity for our sellers and partners to reach millions of customers across the country. Our sellers are excited and expect this to help them in accelerating their business. For our customers, our aim is to help them find everything they need during the festive season and deliver it safely to them," Amazon India Vice President Manish Tiwary said in a virtual briefing.
He cited a recent survey it commissioned (conducted by Nielsen) and said sellers on its platform are optimistic about this festive season.
"As per the survey, more than 85 per cent of SMB sellers on Amazon.in are expecting to reach out to new customers and see an increase in sales. More than 74 per cent sellers are optimistic about recovery of business and 78 per cent are positive about increase in visibility of products," he added.
Tiwary said the sale is also important as it will provide lakhs of Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) an opportunity to offer unique selection to customers, helping them rebuild and accelerate their business in tough times.
Customers across the country can buy these products under various programmes such as Local Shops, Amazon Launchpad, Amazon Saheli, and Amazon Karigar, he added.
Tiwary said over the last few months, the company has seen a shift in consumer behaviour with Prime customers buying more and with increased frequency.
He added that the demand for electronic items like mobile phones and notebooks and kitchen appliances as well as apparel is expected to stay strong.
Asked about competition, he said e-commerce is still a small portion of the overall retail pie in India.
He added that more players would help grow the segment and bring in growth opportunities for sellers (including small and medium businesses) as well as benefit consumers.
The fast-growing e-commerce sector in the country is expected to see competition intensifying with Reliance Industries' JioMart bolstering its operations. Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd - run by India's richest man Mukesh Ambani - on Tuesday raised Rs 5,512.50 crore from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), taking its total fundraise to Rs 37,710 crore in less than four weeks.
The investments equip Reliance Retail with funds to compete in both offline and online formats and help Reliance to launch take on rivals Flipkart and Amazon.
Amazon said over 900 new product launches from top brands such as Samsung, OnePlus, Apple, Boat, Dabur, Max Fashion, Lakme, Peter England and Biotique are also expected apart from new launches from Amazon Devices.
Tiwary said business buyers can also save big on Amazon Business with bulk discounts. All transactions are supported by a GST invoice and businesses can buy from the SMB store to fulfill their gifting requirement for clients, customers and employees, he added.
Amazon India has partnered with HDFC Bank to offer finance options to customers.
E-commerce companies see a large chunk of their business coming in during the festive sales and they make significant investments ahead of time to ramp up their capacity to be able to handle the spike in orders. Festive season sees players holding multiple sale events, timed around Dussehra and Diwali.
Electronics, fashion and home furnishing are some of the categories that see a huge demand during the festive season.
A report by RedSeer estimates that festive sales this year are expected to almost double and touch $7 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) as compared to $3.8 billion in the same period last year.
Tiwari said Amazon India has ramped up its delivery infrastructure adding close to 200 delivery stations. It has more than 60 fulfilment centres in 15 states, offering a storage capacity of over 32 million cubic feet. Amazon India has previously said it has created more than one lakh seasonal job opportunities ahead of the festive season across its operations network in the country.