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Undeterred by economic slowdown, Amazon goes aggressive to market ‘Great Indian Festival’

Amazon's big sale will clash with competitor Flipkart's Big Billion Days. In an exclusive conversation with, Ravi Desai, Director, Mass and Brand Marketing at Amazon India, talks about the brand’s festive preparedness and strategy to take on competition

While the economic slowdown may have adversely affected certain sectors such as automobiles, online retail giant Amazon expects this Diwali to be the largest ever. The brand is confident about the preparations that it has done for the upcoming festive season.

Ravi Desai

“I'm not sure whether it's just a topical fad about the economic slowdown and recession conversation; all of us are reading the same set of newspapers and are wondering whether there is a slowdown at all. At Amazon, we are not overly worried about what we read in the newspapers every day. Today, we have 30 million more products than what we did last Diwali. In terms of adoption, we have far more customers transacting on Amazon than we ever had in the past,” says Ravi Desai, Director, Mass and Brand Marketing at Amazon India.


With high hopes, announced the dates of the ‘Great Indian Festival’ on Monday. The annual festive season sale will kick start from midnight on September 29 and will continue until 11:59 pm on October 4. Prime members will get exclusive early access starting 12 noon on September 28.’s Great Indian Festival was flagged off with the #AmazonFestiveYatra – a unique “house-on-wheels”. It brings together not just the big brands available for the shopping carnival but also unique products from small and medium businesses, startups and artisans from across the country. The specially curated house-on-wheels also includes a selection from’s Karigar and Saheli programmes.

Amazon's big sale will clash with competitor Flipkart's festive season offer. The Big Billion Days on Flipkart will run from September 29 to October 4. has developed an entire ecosystem with more than 50 fulfilment centres in 13 states, offering a storage capacity of over 20 million cubic feet. The brand has also partnered with Tata Motors for the #AmazonFestiveYatra with three Tata Signa trucks housing the entire curation and engaging with customers and sellers.


“For Amazon, the ‘Prime Customer’ base today is double of what it used to be 12 months ago. There are 5 lakh sellers today on the online retail marketplace, which used to be three-and-a-half lakh last year. In terms of reach capability, it is actually one-and-a-half times of what it used to be last year,” says Desai.

“Today, Amazon has reached 99.9% of the serviceable pin codes in the country. Under the ‘I Have Space’ program (IHS), we have close to 23,000 retail outlets who do last-mile delivery for Amazon stores under this flagship program in over 350 cities,” he adds.

Customers will get never-seen-before deals on the widest selection of smartphones, laptops, cameras, consumer electronics and TVs, home and kitchen products, fashion, consumables such as grocery and beauty products.

The entire campaign will be leveraged through Amazon India Day One Blog along with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

And while Desai refrained from quoting any actual figures in terms of ad spends, he said the brand is aiming to reach higher number of customers this year, hence the ad spends will be higher than the last year. 

All geared up to take on the competition

With the theme ‘Now budget won’t hold back India’s celebration’, this year’s Great Indian Festival will feature a wide range of finance options from no-cost EMI on debit and credit cards and Bajaj FinServ, 10% instant bank discount on SBI debit and credit cards, exchange offers and lots more. Amazon has also launched special ‘Festive cashback offers’ wherein customers can now start collecting up to Rs 900 worth of offers by visiting the Great India Festival event page on

“With three special trucks, #AmazonFestiveYatra will visit 13 cities covering over 6,000 kms throughout the festive season, providing a great opportunity for Amazon customers and sellers to engage, and share insights and opinions. Starting from New Delhi, #AmazonFestiveYatra will move to Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad before ending its trip in Bengaluru. En-route this journey, the #AmazonFestiveYatra trucks will engage with customers and sellers in Agra, Chennai, Indore, Kolkata, Kochi, Mathura, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam. It will actually give people a chance to interact with some of these products. And that's really the crux of the campaign,” informs Desai.

A host of new product launches are lined up during the shopping festival, e.g. One Plus will launch both a smartphone and a new TV on Samsung too has a bunch of products lined up to launch during Diwali. Xiaomi, Vivo or Apple may come up too. In home appliances, 2,500 products will available during this Diwali.   

For, the entire country is its TG because any Indian with access to the internet can shop. As for media plan, it varies from state to state/region to region because while certain states perform extremely well for a certain category, others may not.

“Depending on the medium, we sometimes segment the market. So if you're a prime customer, I'm likely to find you on certain kinds of TV channels. I'm likely to find you on digital platforms of a certain nature. But, if you're a new customer from a small town, who hasn’t shopped yet on Amazon, then you're likely to get catered from TV, vernacular print, radio activations, and so on. Hence, it depends on what customer cohort we cater to. And media plans are made accordingly. It's not that print will get Rs 30 and TV will get Rs 40,” says Desai.

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