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Amazon Prime membership doubles during Prime Day 2020 from last year

Retail giant doesn’t disclose numbers. More than 200 sellers turn crorepatis. All India Online Vendors Association complains about Amazon trying to cannibalise logistics market.

August 12, 2020 / 12:31 AM IST

US-based e-tailer Amazon's 48-hour long festive sale event saw double the number of customers signing up for Prime membership as compared to the year before. The Prime Day sales were held on August 6 and 7.

The company did not disclose the number of subscribers. All it said was over 65 percent new members came from outside the top 10 cities in the country.

Personal computing devices, large appliances, kitchenware, smartphones, apparel and pantry items were among the hot sellers. Work-from- home purchase trends continued, with customers buying laptops, printers, monitors and the like.

The event, which gave multiple sellers an opportunity to sell their piled- up inventory following the lockouts and the pandemic, turned out to be promising for the e-commerce giant.

Prime Day sales are conducted every year as a global in July. Owing to COVID-19, Amazon postponed the event in the US but went ahead with it in India.

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The company's flagship event, The Great Indian Festival, is likely to be held in October, ahead of Diwali and Dussehra.

The rise in the Prime subscriptions has not only bolstered the revenue of the company but has secured a promising set of customers who will be on the look-out for big offers during the upcoming sale season.

Amazon claims that during the two-day sale, more than four out of five prime members were engaged with at least one of the five categories -- shopping, video, music, reading and gaming.

Rival Flipkart also ran its five-day sale -- Big Saving Days -- starting August 6. However, it didn't share any detail about the event.

Multiple sellers Moneycontrol spoke to said that their sales saw unprecedented growth – five to six times a regular day.

A seller, requesting anonymity, said that earlier he used to sell only the excess or unsold inventory in marketplaces. However, given the lack of offline sale avenues this year due to the pandemic, he, like with many others, relied solely on the e-commerce channels.

Complaints about delivery mechanism

Many sellers, however, complained about the delay in pick-up dates, which was possibly caused by broken supply chain, reduced manpower and many warehouses falling within the containment zones.

An apparel seller from Ludhiana shared a screenshot wherein his pick- up was scheduled for August 29 for a purchase which happened during the sale weekend.

Sellers were crying foul as this not just delays the delivery of the product but also payments.

“Barriers have been created so that sellers are forced to use logistic services of the marketplace. The idea is to cannibalise the marketplace and create an artificial notion that Cloudtail and Appario are better and they deliver goods faster,” said the spokesperson of the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA).

Cloudtail and Appario are the preferred vendors of Amazon in whose holding entities the US giant has stakes in.

Meanwhile, Amazon claimed it saw the highest even participation from small and medium business, with over 91,000 of them, including artisans and weavers. More than 62,000 sellers were from non-metros and Tier II and III cities.

At least 209 sellers became crorepatis, after the two-day sale, said Amazon.

“We are humbled that we were able to help as this was our biggest Prime Day ever for small businesses – nearly 1 lakh SMB sellers (70 percent from small towns) received orders from across 97 percent of India’s pincodes," said Amit Agarwal, SVP and Country Manager, Amazon India.
Priyanka Sahay
first published: Aug 10, 2020 06:13 pm
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