Amazon’s “Great Indian Sale” in 2016, the company claims, saw Amazon Prime users accounting for 50% of orders, with one of every two orders placed by Prime members. Prime is the company’s membership program, priced at Rs 999 per year (with an introductory price of Rs 499), which provides users with free and prioritised delivery of products available on Prime, as well as early access to deals, and in some cases, discounts available only to Prime members. During the sale, the company said, “More customers bought a Prime subscription than any other product”; its classification of Prime as a product instead of a service is incorrect, though.

The timing of the sale

What is particularly interesting about this sale is its timing: it was held a week before Republic Day holiday (which, for some, may end up being a four day holiday), when most companies typically try to attract consumers with sales. This means that by holding this sale a week before offline players and some online companies, Amazon may have gotten users to buy from it, instead of buying from others. There’s a likelihood that sales during republic day may be impacted by this. Again, it’s possible that there may not have been a strategic intent behind the timing of the sale, given the frequency at which online platforms host sales to drive up numbers in a particular quarter.

The data from the announcement

Amazon has shared percentage growth data, which we have no means of verifying; percentage data is dependent on baseline numbers, so readers should be aware that claims of large growth on a percentage basis may be on a low base:

  • “new benchmarks set for daily units, cashless payments using Amazon Pay, and Prime”
  • “triple digit year over year growth rate”
  • New customer acquisition
    • Acquisition rate matches the peak Diwali shopping season, and was over 185% as compared to a normal day.
    • Tier 2/3 towns had new customer acquisition at 200% higher than a normal day
    • Growth in Tier-3 cities including Patiala- 1084%, Virudhunagar-630%, Sambalpur-475%, Kolhapur- 400% among others
  • Sales via Project Udaan, which is an assisted shopping program Amazon has with CIC’s and offline retail outlets, had customer adoption growth 50 times growth as against a normal day
  • Prime data: 1 out of every 2 orders were placed by Prime members
  • Cashless Payments:
    • More number of customers chose cashless transactions than ever before.
    • 30 times customers loaded money into Amazon Pay as compared to a normal day
    • New customers who adopted Amazon Pay grew by 360% (Ed: which is probably because Amazon was offering a cashback for Amazon Pay payments)
  • Category Growth: All categories grew in the range of 2 times – 7 times as compared to a normal day
  • Seller Growth
    • Over 2200 sellers witnessed their biggest sale day ever during the event
    • Sellers from Tier II and below geographies witnessed growth of over 135% as compared to a normal day
    • Number of sellers in the 1crore club grew over 30% as compared to last year