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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Bharatiya mobile retailers’ body slams Amazon, phone vendors

The All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stressing that Amazon’s operations in Bharat should be suspended until a probe into the company is done.

AIMRA, a trade union that represents more than 1.5 lakh mobile phone retailers in the country, said that Amazon, along with leading mobile brands, has joined hands to derail the retail industry and put small retailers’ life in danger. The association said that Amazon is doing business in Bharat with the strategy of deftly dodging the regulators and politicians.

E-commerce companies promote sales on their platforms through their own preferred sellers. “Unfortunately, E-commerce companies often are the stakeholders of these preferred sellers. Since 2014, mobile brands have had exclusive tie-ups for sales with these very preferred sellers. All stocks are given to the preferred seller so that the e-com platform can show non-involvement and do not suffer any implications,” Arvinder Khurana, National President, AIMRA in the letter that was sent to Modi on Monday.

“This is basically a cover-up of the alliance between brands and e-com companies to show that the word of the law is being followed, even though the spirit of the law is absent,” he added. To further cover up this exclusive cartel, “online selling is barred for local retailers by the brands and on the other hand, the commission asked by E-com companies is as much as the margin allotted to the seller by the brand,” the mobile retailers’ industry body said.

“Not only that, Amazon is using this ploy to register small traders but making it difficult for them to sell their products online with tough rules and minuscule margins,” Khurana argued. Amazon was yet to react to the AIMRA letter.

After several years of growth, the Bharatiya smartphone market exited 2020 at 150 million (15 crores) units, a 1.7 percent (year-over-year) decline, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). Online channels were likely to account for the highest-ever 45 percent share of smartphone sales in 2020. Among the online channels, Flipkart is likely to hold top position while Amazon will grow the fastest.

According to Khurana, they have seven crore traders in Bharat whereas Amazon shows only four lakh, out of which the top 35 sellers are doing nearly 80 percent of businesses.” Which is why it is imperative to curtail sales of each seller at 5 lakh to put an end to the fraudulent ways of all e-commerce businesses,” he emphasized.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has also threatened to launch a nationwide campaign against the e-commerce giants for their alleged business malpractices and issues related to GST evasion.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline and minor edits to conform to HinduPost style-guide.)

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