Prime is Amazon’s newest weapon to win India over

Thinking local.
Thinking local.
Image: Reuters/Abhishek N. Chinnappa
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Amazon seems to have found its sweet spot in India.

Just four months into its launch, Amazon Prime has become the highest-selling product for the Seattle-headquartered e-commerce company in India.

Prime is a membership program that gives customers access to videos, music, and e-books at cheaper rates, and makes them eligible for free delivery and other Amazon-related deals. The company launched Prime in July, with an annual membership charge of Rs499 (around $7).

“It (Prime) is now one of the top-selling units based on And so it’s very been very well received by customers,” Amazon CFO Brian T Olsavsky said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 27.

Prime was also the highest-selling product during Amazon’s five-day “Great Indian Festival” sale held between Oct. 01 and Oct. 05, the company said. “Prime is now the most sold product in’s history, beating all previous records of top selling products,” it said in a statement.

Local creativity

Another thing helping the Seattle-based company grow in India is its local team’s creativity, Olsavsky said.

“It’s hard to compare India to any other country. It’s very different in its stage and structure,” he said. ”The team there in India has been very creative on whenever they find a roadblock or something that has not existed in another country, they create it (a solution) themselves.” Olsavsky was replying to an analyst’s question about Amazon’s plans for India.

Since its launch in India in 2013, Amazon has launched several India-specific programmes. These include the offline stores initiative called Udaan, a tie-up with Indian Railways to sell Kashmiri products on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation website, and a “Make in India” store featuring locally-manufactured products.

These initiatives seem to have paid off. Despite entering India six years after Flipkart was founded, Amazon is already a strong contender for the market leader’s position. The company has committed investments of $5 billion in India, far higher than the total funds raised by Flipkart (around $3.2 billion) and Snapdeal (around $1.7 billion).

In yet another attempt to woo India, Amazon is all set to invest in the country’s favourite sport. Amazon is reportedly in the race to get digital media rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament.