Premium phones to call the shots this e-commerce sale season

Online shoppers are expected to buy more expensive phones, including premium models, during this year’s festive sales on Amazon India and Flipkart, encouraged both by deep discounts and easy payment options offered by the ecommerce platforms, say analysts.

“The premium (smartphone) segment is expected to grow more than the overall market, which is growing at 15%,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research. “There are more choices in the category this time, and nine out of 10 smartphones in the premium segment already have affordability offers such as EMI, cashbacks and phone exchanges.”

The smartphone category usually accounts for a majority of the sales during Amazon and Flipkart’s flagship festive season sales events—Great Indian Festival and Big Billion Days, respectively. A bump up in the sales of premium and higher-priced products in this category would significantly reflect in increased gross sales for the ecommerce giants.

Flipkart expects to sell four times more premium smartphones during its flagship sale this year as compared with last year’s event. Amazon, which also expects a significant growth in this segment, said it is offering some of the best discounts in the category, such as a nearly Rs 22,000 discount, including cashbacks, on the iPhone X (64 GB), and a Rs 5,000 discount on the OnePlus 6. Both Amazon and Flipkart begin their flagship sales events on October 10.

Analysts also expect more phones to be sold in the Rs 10,000-15,000 range during this year’s events. Last year, a majority of the smartphones sold on these platforms were priced under Rs 10,000.

Forrester Research analyst Satish Meena expects Flipkart to garner a bigger share of sales in the smartphone category this year due to more exclusive brand partnerships as compared with Amazon.

According to market research firm techArc, Flipkart has had 70 exclusive smartphones partnerships this year, and Amazon, 40.

“Comparing the number of exclusives without comparing the quality and popularity of a phone is like comparing apples with oranges,” said Manish Tiwary, vice-president, category management, at Amazon India. “We have the bestsellers in different price segments. RedMi 6A has been the best-selling phone in India, and we have that exclusively on our platform. OnePlus is the best-selling premium phone.”

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