Amazon reports record seller participation in Prime Day in India

Manish Singh
·3-min read
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 16: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos along with Amazon India Chief Amit Agarwal lights the ceremonial lamp during the Amazon's annual Smbhav event at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, on January 16, 2020 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 16: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos along with Amazon India Chief Amit Agarwal lights the ceremonial lamp during the Amazon's annual Smbhav event at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, on January 16, 2020 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images)

Amazon has amassed at least 1 million subscribers for its Prime loyalty program in India, the e-commerce giant revealed today in a long rundown of how its platform fared during last week’s Prime Day in the world's second largest internet market.

More than a million Prime subscribers in India shopped from small businesses in the two weeks leading up to the 48-hour Prime Day event last week, the company said in a blog post. Factoring in the ongoing global pandemic, Amazon last month chose India as the first market for Prime Day this year.

This is the first time Amazon has even vaguely disclosed how many of its users in India have signed up for the Prime subscription that costs $13.30 a year in the country (compared to $119 in the U.S.) and bundles Prime Video and Prime Music services. Amazon launched Prime in India four years ago. Globally, Amazon has more than 150 million Prime subscribers.

More than 91,000 small businesses (sellers) in India -- a record for the company -- participated in the local Prime Day, and sold to customers living in 5,900 ZIP codes (covering more than 97% of the country). Over 4,000 of these businesses clocked sales of more than $13,350 (slightly below 4,500 businesses during last year’s Prime Day), and overall 31,000 sellers reported the two-day period last week as their best selling on the platform.

Chinese firms Xiaomi and OnePlus continued to command dominance in the smartphone category, one of the top three selling categories on Amazon, during Prime Day, and also attracted customers to their accessories, laptops and television sets, Amazon disclosed. The reception stands in contrast with the all-time high anti-China sentiments swirling across India in recent months.

Amit Agarwal, SVP and Country Manager of Amazon India, said in a televised interview that last week’s Prime Day also illustrated an “increasing trend of local Indian sellers use Amazon as a starting point to launch products and reach customers globally” but he declined to share any figures.

“This Prime Day was dedicated to our small business (SMB) partners, who have been increasingly looking to Amazon to keep their businesses running. We are humbled that we were able to help as this was our biggest Prime Day ever for small businesses,” he said in a statement.

Prime Day is one of the biggest sales events for Amazon globally. In India, the e-commerce giant has historically sold more goods during sales events scheduled around the festival of Diwali, which is when local residents peak their spendings.

But the participation of 91,000 sellers in last week's Prime Day is the highest Amazon has ever witnessed during any sales period in India. During the sale around Diwali last year, for instance, the company had reported the participation of 65,000 sellers.

Amazon, which competes with Walmart’s Flipkart in India, has visibly rushed to expand its base of sellers in the country in recent quarters. Earlier this year, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said the company would invest $1 billion in India to help digitize local small businesses and increase their cumulative exports on Amazon to $10 billion by 2025.

The company revealed today that it has amassed 650,000 sellers in India, up from 500,000 it disclosed in January this year.

Amazon has also been focusing on tie-ups with neighborhood stores across the country, leveraging their vast reach to drive more people to shop online. The company said over a thousand such shops from more than 100 cities made their debut on Prime Day last week.

Amazon also claimed that during Prime Day, the number of requests people made to Alexa exceeded one million. The company also shared a wide-range of other stats such as a claim that twice as many customers signed up for a Prime membership during last week's Prime Day compared to last year's. But without any concrete figures, these numbers are bereft of meaning.