Sales on Flipkart and Amazon during the 15-day October festival period in India fell short of the $5bn analysts had expected, according to RedSeer Consulting, but the e-commerce giants each performed strongly in certain areas.

The average order value for Flipkart stood at US$27.53 versus US$20.35 on Amazon, indicating that customers bought higher-value items from the Walmart-owned marketplace, the Economic Times reported.

Flipkart led with 64% share of the combined gross sales while Amazon continued to fare higher in net promoter score (NPS).

Other findings from the report include:

• Better availability and variety of electronics and fashion items improved NPS for Amazon, while Flipkart led on the back of strong performance in smaller cities.

• Customer cancellations were also lower on Amazon, but Flipkart’s reach and brand recall in smaller towns and cities was better.

• The gap between Flipkart and Amazon grew narrower in terms of gross units shipped. Flipkart’s share in terms of units stood at 56% while Amazon’s share was 44%.

While both companies have denied that the economic slowdown had any impact on their sale numbers, Redseer indicated that the overall internet market grew at a slower rate.

“Year-on-year growth for festive season came down due to a tough macroeconomic environment and decreased overall consumer spending,” the report said. “Unit sales were higher than gross sales due to slow growth in new smartphone users, wider selection in fashion and long-tail categories.”

The performance of online retailers was also under increased scrutiny, as this was first large shopping event after the revised ecommerce policy kicked in on February 1, which barred online marketplaces and their group companies from predatory pricing in any form.

In October, the Indian government asked Amazon and Flipkart to disclose names of top five sellers on their platform, price list of goods of preferred vendors and the kind of support provided to sellers. They have also been asked to share details about association with payment gateways.

The move followed complaints by a traders’ body, Confederation of All India Traders, that e-commerce companies have been violating the foreign direct investment policy by hiding behind festive season sales.

The trade body has repeatedly alleged that these companies follow unethical practices by indulging in predatory pricing. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has stated that a probe is on regarding allegations of predatory pricing against Wal-Mart-owned Flipkart and Amazon.

Sourced from Economic Times, Business Standard; additional content by WARC staff