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Flipkart, Amazon may ditch their annual pre-Diwali mega sales events

Flipkart and Amazon may give their annual pre-Diwali mega sales events a miss this year if there’s another surge in Covid-19 infections in the country around that time, according to people familiar with the matter.

Both ecommerce giants are working on plan B, which could be low-key sales events christened differently, the persons cited earlier told ET. Both companies believe that another surge in Covid-19 infections could severely impact sales and dent the image of their biggest sales properties, they said.

Walmart-owned Flipkart’s ‘Big Billion Day’ and Amazon’s ‘Great Indian Festival’, the annual mega discounting events close to the festival of Diwali, are known for generating immense consumer interests despite brick-and-mortar stores and small traders alleging that the companies flout rules by offering deep discounting on a host of products.

India recorded saw a surge in Covid-19 infections in April and May. Experts have warned that if the vaccination drive is not speeded up and stringent measures to control the spread of the virus are not maintained, the country may face a third wave of infections in September or October this year.

“Flipkart may not call it Big Billion, in case there is a spike in infections before Diwali. This time around, Flipkart is also thinking on something else as well,” said one of the persons cited earlier. “The third wave is also expected around that time and if the sales, say hypothetically, drop by 50% compared to last year…. Media will immediately call it a flop show.”

ET’s email query to Flipkart remained unanswered till as of press time on Thursday.

A spokesperson for Amazon India said, “We continue to focus to serve our customers through home deliveries in a safe and convenient manner, and also support lakhs of sellers, including small and medium businesses, associates across our network.”

The mega sales events by ecommerce platforms around Diwali last year, dominated by Big Billion Day and Great Indian Festival, had
clocked sales of about $3.1 billion in the first four and a half days of the festive period, exceeding the $2.7 billion in gross sales recorded during the entire event period in 2019, according to market tracking firm RedSeer Consulting.

In the 2020 edition of Big Billion Day, Flipkart had said its first five-day deliveries had swelled 10 times from the previous year’s to nearly 10 million shipments.

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