Festival season is around the corner. So are the flagship sales of e-commerce behemoths- Flipkart and Amazon. Amidst the economic slowdown, the duo expects to meet at least the last year’s festive season sales target.
Flipkart’s six-day ‘Big Billion Days’ sales will begin on September 29 while Amazon is yet to announce dates.
While the impact of slow economic growth will undoubtedly reflect on their sales, adding more friction – traders representing body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has requested the government to monitor the practice of influencing prices and even put a ban on such sales.
According to CAIT, the practice of deep discounting is creating an uneven playing field for brick & mortar and traditional retailers. The body that represents over 500,000 merchants believes that the duo discounts from 10% to 80% is a direct violating of the country’s Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) rules.
Of late, brick & mortar retailers, small merchants and restaurants have been vehemently protesting against e-commerce platforms involvement in predatory pricing and deep discounting.
Zomato is facing ire of restaurants partners and NRAI over its subscription – Gold and other things. OYO often finds itself in the same boat with hoteliers’ associations boycotting it now and then. Only two weeks ago, Amazon and a trader group had indulged in public strife over the same issue in an open panel discussion organized by CAIT.
Allegations by traders’ bodies and individual merchants against Flipkart and Amazon is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on for the past few years. However, the government’s strict stance on the implementation of Press Note 2 has made both companies to avoid arm-twist regulations.
Refuting claims of CAIT, Flipkart said over 1 lakh sellers await for ‘Big Billion Days’, and we power them with our insights to scale their business. On the other hand, Amazon emphasised that it doesn’t influence the pricing of products on the platform in any manner.
Given that the discount has been a significant driver of e-commerce in India and consumers awaits for these festive sales, it’s unlikely to face a blanket ban. Nevertheless, Flipkart and Amazon will be certainly under the regulator’s scanner for predatory pricing.