So Which E-Commerce Company Is Winning This Festive Season?

The festive season is in full swing, and Indian e-commerce giants are battling it out for a share of India’s online shopping pie. The 3 biggest players – Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal – are running simultaneous sales from 13th to 17th October, and marketing and promotions have been fierce. 

Snapdeal had thrown down the gauntlet with CPO Anand Chandrashekharan takings digs at Flipkart’s website being briefly down before the sale, and CEO Kunal Bahl had sneakily tweeted that “Snapdeal’s site is working fine, come shop with us while others figure out how to make their app work”. Flipkart on its part has been heavily promoting the sale, launching a video in collaboration with TVF and upping sales commissions for its affiliate partners. Amazon claimed that October 13, the first day of the sale, was the highest grossing day in the history of the company in India. In addition to this, all 3 companies have been investing heavily in traditional media.

The first 3 pages of TOI dated 12th October, Bangalore edition

But who’s winning? All three sides claim to be India’s top shopping destination, and reported figures are often a confusing mess of GMV numbers and interpretations. However Google search trends can serve as a useful proxy to gauge consumer interest, especially for companies in the same vertical over short time periods.

The results are quite telling. In the days leading up to the sale, Flipkart was slightly ahead of the pack in terms of worldwide searches, followed by Snapdeal, and Amazon came in third. This position was fairly static for a while, until Snapdeal ran a campaign for the sale on 12th October.

That day, interest for Snapdeal shot up, eclipsing both Flipkart and Amazon by a wide margin. However, Snapdeal found it hard to sustain its momentum. As the clock was about to strike midnight on 12th October and Flipkart’s sale was about to launch (Amazon’s launched at 8am on 13th October), Flipkart’s marketing efforts seemed to pay off, leading to a huge spike in queries. 

As 13th Oct wore on, a clear hierarchy was established. Flipkart led the pack by a fair distance, followed by Amazon, and Snapdeal was a close third. The pattern has sustained going into the third day of the sale. Interestingly, queries for Flipkart are still running strong three days into the sale, but interest for Snapdeal and Amazon seems to be tapering off.

While Google Trends are hardly an exact way to predict sales volume and profitability, they do provide an insight into what the Indian consumer is interested in. And if these results are to be believed, Flipkart is at the top of the Indian ecommerce pile, and Amazon leads Snapdeal in a close battle for 2nd place.