Following a recent disclosure that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is in discussions with India's largest e-commerce company by sales Flipkart Ltd., Amazon is making a similar push with the aim to make Amazon India's top online store by sales ahead of the Diwali shopping season.
Flipkart, Amazon and the “festival of lights”
Flipkart had earlier held discussions with Chinese e-commerce company JD.com Inc. for a possible investment a few months ago but it didn't result in a deal. An alliance with Wal-Mart would bolster its fight against Amazon and other Indian competitors, such as Jasper Infotech Pvt.'s Snapdeal.com.
This is particularly important in time for the Diwali shopping season - or the "festival of lights" which is India's biggest retail event where Indians are expected to spend as much as $1.7 billion online this year, according to RedSeer Consulting.
Good times for Bitcoin
The event, as well as the competition between the two main e-commerce companies with a global reach, is also a crucial opportunity to push Bitcoin’s awareness and adoption in the world’s second largest country.
There has been a developing interest in Bitcoin by Indians recently. However, efforts by startups such as Coinsecure aim to bridge the gap between Bitcoin users and merchants. Others are making it easier for end users to embrace Bitcoin use particularly for e-commerce.
Though vouchers are not available for its users in a few countries like India and Singapore yet, Zebpay is also enabling some of its users to buy gift cards of popular US merchants like Amazon with Bitcoins. These vouchers are all at 10% off as a special promotion for a limited period.
Purse, an online marketplace that encourages Bitcoin use, began by offering Amazon discounts but now carries more inventory than Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping, with lower prices. It has been helping Amazon achieve its goal by allowing Bitcoin users to receive discounts between 15 and 22% using Purse’s “Name Your Discount” program.
Some experts estimate that about 50 million people, or 4% of India's population, regularly shops online, but believe the market will someday bloom as China's did. Morgan Stanley predicts Indian online sales will hit $100 billion a year by 2020, up from $3 billion in 2013.