Flipkart says on target to double Big Billion Days sales to $1 billion this year

Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sales is largely driven by large appliances and smartphone deals. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Bengaluru: India’s largest e-commerce firm Flipkart said on Thursday that it was on track to double sales from its flagship sale event Big Billion Days this year, as compared to last year’s five-day event and further extend its slender lead over arch-rival Amazon India.

In a statement, Flipkart said it recorded the highest-ever single-day sales of smartphones since the category opened for the Big Billion Days sale at midnight on Thursday and said it sold 1.3 million smartphones within the first 24 hours.

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In a separate interview, Flipkart senior director Smrithi Ravichandran said that the online retailer was on track to exceed most of its internal targets over the course of the five-day event, driven mainly by sales from key categories such as smartphones and large appliances. Big Billion days, which started on 20 September, will run till 24 September.

Amazon India is also hosting its flagship Diwali sale, the Great Indian Festival, this week.

“We are looking at 2X growth overall compared to last year’s Big Billion Days,” said Ravichandran. Smartphones and large appliances are Flipkart’s two biggest categories in terms of gross merchandise value (GMV).

Earlier in September, Flipkart had said that it would aim to grow sales by “two to three times” compared to last year’s numbers. Last year, Flipkart had generated gross sales of at least Rs3,000 crore (or close to $500 million) during the five-day event, Mint reported on 8 October 2016.

If Flipkart does end up doubling sales from last year’s Big Billion Days, it would imply gross sales of roughly Rs6,000 crore (almost $1 billion)—making it one of the biggest online sale events globally and put it in the same league as Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale in China.

According to experts tracking e-commerce, the overall online retail market is expected to expand during the festive season sale. Gross sales or gross merchandise value (GMV) across online retailers may reach $1.7 billion in this festive sales period, a jump of 62% from last year, according to market research firm RedSeer Consulting.

Flipkart entered this year’s festive season sale from a position of relative strength compared to last year: the company has raised $2.8 billion in fresh funds this year and has roughly $4 billion of cash at its disposal. Last year, Flipkart was under tremendous pressure to pull off a successful Big Billion Days in order to raise more funds.