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Small towns driving huge festive season gains, claim e-tailers

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It’s been only three days since they have gone live with their festive season sales events and already e-commerce majors Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal appear to be locking horns with each other.
All three of them have registered record sales numbers and have claimed to create history; both in terms of volume and value, via their respective festival sales events over the weekend.
Read: 2 million users logged in first hour of Diwali Sale: Snapdeal
Where home-grown major Flipkart said it sold more than half a million products within an hour on the first day of its flagship Big Billion Days sales event on Sunday, Amazon India said the second day of its sales topped its Day One numbers.
Read: Flipkart’s Big Billion Days: Over half a million products sold in less than one hour on Day 1
Amazon claimed a billion hits in the first 14 hours of the first day, saying it had more unique visitors during that period than in all five days of the same event last year. It sold more than 100,000 units in the first half-an-hour of the first day.
Flipkart’s sale began a day after Amazon India started its Great Indian Festival sales.
Simillarly, Snapdeal said that the first day, which began with Flipkart’s sale on October 2, was the biggest sale day in the company’s history with sales volumes witnessing a nearly 9x surge of average daily sales. It also said that more than 2 million users logged on during the first hour of sale, nearly 700,000 of them in the first five minutes alone.
Read: Vendors, not consumers, are centre of e-commerce strategy this festive season
The numbers reflect the fierce battle for supremacy in India’s e-commerce market, as sales growth for these online retailers began slacking this year because of new foreign investment regulations that forced them to cut back on discounting.
The players, who relied on unique offerings, better pricing, strategic ties up and exchange offers for this year as opposed to deep discounts of last year, appears to be benefiting from these offers.
Read: E-tailers mantra for festive sales: Say no to discounts, not to lucrative offers
“Exclusive privileges and financial benefits being offered by portals like Flipkart,, Snapdeal, and ShopClues are backed by additional discounts through strategic partnerships with various banks like HDFC, SBI, ICICI Bank, Standard Chartered, American Express etc. These partnerships have played a pivotal role in increasing sales and order value this festive season,” Founder of, Swati Bhargava, told
As per the analysis drawn by CashKaro, Amazon and Flipkart are getting ahead in the race, closely followed by Snapdeal & then Shopclues in terms of GMV-driven by the sites.
Besides, the survey revealed that a significant chunk of the new shoppers is coming from smaller towns in states like Sikkim, Tripura, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These towns are a potentially huge market that online retailers are eyeing to expand the overall e-commerce pie.
Read: How online and offline players are gearing up for Diwali sales
“Historically, small town consumers has been quite value conscious but the online sales event coupled with various cash-back offers has encouraged people to come online and shop more. While last year the metro cities vs small town participation ratio was 70:30, this year it has gone up to 60:40,” Bhargava said.
“Also until last year, categories like mobile phones and electronics were doing well in these towns but this year, fashion has also picked up well; signaling the trend towards aspirational shopping in these towns,” she added.
For instance, Snapdeal saw a significant jump in the orders from the small towns. The company said that the traffic from tier II and III cities increased by 20 times, with maximum surge, other than metros, coming from Mizoram, Meghalaya, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir in that order.
Similarly for Ama zon, traffic from tier II and tier III towns increased 17 times compared with last year, indicative of how discounting and lucrative offers has aided the entry of a new set of buyers. The top six-eight cities typically contribute 90 per cent of sales for all the consumer internet players, leaving a yawning gap between these markets and the still largely untapped smaller towns.
Back To The Basics
Unlike last year, when most of the e-tailers where split between app-only and mobile first strategy, all the retailers this year offered equal discounts on both the channels giving consumers’ an upper hand in deciding the channel of their choice.
According to Cashkaro’s Swati Bhargava, this has also helped in getting better sales.
“Unlike last year, we saw equal promotion on both Desktop and App platforms as retailers have realized that both mediums have their own merits and cannot be ignored. Our research shows that during these first three days, desktops were the preffered device with 60 per cent of consumers using offers via desktop as compare to 40 per cent using mobile phones,” she said.

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