Mobile retailers body calls for a ban on Amazon in India

The All-India Mobile Retailers Association or AIMRA, a representative body of over 1.5 lakh mobile retailers in India, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to investigate the predatory policies by Amazon. It has also called for a ban on the leading e-commerce website claiming that it has been dodging the regulatory policies.

In the letter that was shared on Twitter, the association has also asked the government to put a daily cap on a single seller’s online smartphone sale.

The retailers’ body has reacted to the recent report suggesting that Amazon has been giving preferential treatment to a handful of retailers out of more than 400,000 retailers signed up on the platform. These 33 retailers reportedly accounted for “about a third of the value of all goods sold on the company’s website.”

Further, the association has also called out smartphone brands like Xiaomi, Samsung, OnePlus, and Realme for giving preference to online sales and providing platforms like Amazon and Flipkart with the maximum stock. This, coupled with additional discounts and offers for phones sold online results in online sellers getting an undue advantage.

The Reuters report that the association has cited states that, “some 33 Amazon sellers accounted for about a third of the value of all goods sold on the company’s website.”

The report also stated that “Two more sellers on the e-commerce giant’s India platform – merchants in which Amazon had indirect equity stakes – accounted for around 35% of the platform’s sales revenue in early 2019,” suggesting that Amazon has been circumventing the country's strict foreign investment regulations.

The association suggested that its sellers who employ over 7 lakh people directly have lost over 60% of the business due to the cartel of smartphone makers and e-commerce companies, thus killing the retail economy. Thus, AIMRA in its letter said that the government should cap a single seller's daily smartphone sales on Amazon and Flipkart at 500,000 rupees.

The association had recently sent a similar complaint to Samsung after the South Korean company launched its new smartphone – the Galaxy F62. The phone was available to purchase primarily on Flipkart and Samsung’s owned retail stores apart from a select few retail partners. 

Offline stores have been struggling ever since the pandemic struck and people were forced to stay indoors. This resulted in a massive boost for e-commerce stores as the lockdown eased and both Amazon and Flipkart have enjoyed a lions share of smartphones sold in the country. 

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