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Battle for online shoppers begins as Indians spend billions ahead of Diwali

October 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The battle for India's e-commerce market is heating up as the country's frenzied festive shopping season begins. The sale blitz -- dominated online by Flipkart's Big Billion Days and Amazon's Great Indian Festival -- is set to rake in a record haul, even as deep-pocketed JioMart looks for market share.

The sales blitz leading up to Diwali, the festival of lights, is critical for the companies because "they get a big chunk of spending during this period," said Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst with market research firm Forrester.

"This is the time when consumers are actually in spending mode," he said, adding that the roughly one-month sales period is expected to account for 18% of India's total online shopping for 2020.

The market research firm reported that 10 times as many respondents said they trusted Amazon than they did Flipkart, which came second.

"Flipkart and Amazon are neck-to-neck in the e-commerce wars, in terms of their product offerings, their initiatives to bolster affordability and increase consumer confidence, and most importantly, their last-mile delivery initiatives," said Prabhu Ram, head of the Industry Intelligence Group at research firm CMR.

That's because Flipkart dominates online fashion sales, Meena said, adding that the company has strong tie-ups with smartphone brands to offer big discounts.

Like Flipkart, Amazon declined to talk about past or projected festive sales figures, but Shah noted that "undoubtedly, [the holiday season is] a very important part of our calendar. "

JioMart, which is part of Mukesh Ambani's sprawling conglomerate Reliance Industries, made waves earlier this year when it expanded to hundreds of cities across India — a move widely seen as a challenge to Amazon and Flipkart.

Whether it is Flipkart, JioMart or some other e-commerce player, Shah said Amazon tries not to get caught up in what rivals are up to.

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