Amazon counters market share claim by Flipkart

'We Had 42% In Festive Sale,' E-Trailer India Head Says, Quoting Research Firm IMRB

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The war of words between Amazon and Flipkart continues. Countering Flipkart’s market leadership claim during the festive season sale, Amazon’s India head Amit Agarwal told TOI that the e-commerce major had a 42% market share in terms of orders placed during the sale period, quoting data from research firm Kantar IMRB. While Agarwal did not directly name any competitor, Flipkart’s CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy had earlier said the home-grown e-tailer had a 70% share of this year’s total festive sales based on the company’s own data.

Talking about growth registered during the recently concluded sale, Agarwal openly criticised what he called poor quality of sampling and research being put together to gauge market share numbers. He said this was happening due to the nascent stage of Indian e-commerce where not too many third-party platforms were credibly tracking transactions in the online retail industry.

Amazon said 70% of Indian shoppers who bought from the web retailer in 2016 came back again this year to purchase goods on its site. To be sure, the IMRB data put across is from three different sale events that took place over the last 30 days concluding with Diwali. Agarwal did not mention total gross sales clocked by Amazon.

 “One of the things we have been very disappointed about is the self-serving baseless claims that are being made out there. In fact, one of the studies said they had a sample size of 300 people. On the other hand, IMRB looks at 32,000 people and 200 cities for its data,” Agarwal said, taking a dig at multiple reports that said Flipkart had a lion’s share of the sales made in the run-up to Diwali. The Amazon India boss termed these reports as being biased towards Flipkart, again without naming the company.
Among the third-party reports, RedSeer Consulting said Flipkart increased its market share in terms of gross sales to 58% this year during its Big Billion Days sale from 52% last year, while Amazon saw its share of the market go down to 26% compared to 32% last year during their Great Indian Festival. Forrester, another research firm that tracks e-commerce sales, did not break down the market shares for both the companies but indicated that Flipkart was ahead. Forrester estimated total festive season sales this year in the range of $2.8-2.9 billion.

Agarwal said its subscription programme Prime has again been one of the top selling products during major sale events and the base of Prime users doubled since July. Amazon recently announced it will soon charge Rs 999 for Prime subscriptions of one year compared to an inaugural offer of Rs 499.