Amazon postpones Prime Day sale in India amid surge in Covid-19 cases

Amazon’s flagship Prime Day sale, which is scheduled to take place globally in June, has been postponed in India due to a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country in the second wave of the outbreak.

The Prime Day sale will not be conducted in India and Canada in June due to the spreading infections, even as Amazon goes ahead with plans to host the event in markets including the United States, UK, Germany, France and Spain.

A spokesperson for Amazon India confirmed to ET that the company had decided to pause its Prime Day event in India owing to the current Covid-19 situation and said it was working on figuring out when the event can be held.

No new date for the sale has been announced for India or Canada, yet.

Amazon has traditionally held its Prime Day sale in July but had to push it to October for most global markets last year on account of the pandemic.

This year, the company has brought forward the date, saying it would be better for customers, sellers and vendors.

“There are a number of factors,” chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky had said during the company’s first quarter earnings call, explaining the rationale behind hosting the sale in June this year. “It might be better — for customers, sellers and vendors to experiment with a different time period.”

In India, which saw relatively fewer infections and deaths last year, Amazon had held its Prime Day sale in August.

It was the first big online sale in the country after the nationwide lockdowns were lifted in phases and saw sales of as much as $500 million (about Rs 3,700 crore) during the two-day event, according to Forrester Research.

Moreover, Amazon’s 2020 Prime Day sale in India kicked off recovery in the sector continuing into the Independence Day sales, followed by the month-long Diwali festive period.

Despite having lost close to three months during the lockdowns when the e-tailing industry was forced to ship only essential items, the industry is estimated to have grown by 40% to $38 billion in 2020, according to market tracker RedSeer Consulting.

While there are no estimates on how India’s overall e-commerce industry is performing in 2021, experts and insiders say sales are largely down across the country as consumer sentiment has taken a hit due to the second wave.

The only bright spots for e-commerce are food and grocery, and pharmaceutical categories, sales for which have surged after caseloads jumped and states began imposing lockdowns, starting in April, to curb the spread of the virus.

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