Customers cry foul after iPhone orders on Flipkart cancelled during festive season sale


Customers eager to buy Apple’s iPhone 13 – sold at significant discounts online following the launch of the iPhone 14 – have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction with Walmart-owned e-commerce company Flipkart after multiple orders were cancelled during its ongoing annual festive season sales event Big Billion Days.

The premium versions of the iPhone13 models are still available but the least expensive ones are shown as being sold out on the platform.

Flipkart said less than 3% of the orders have been cancelled by sellers due to what it called “anomalies.” It did not specify or provide further details.

“We understand that close to 70% of all iPhone orders placed across cities including Guntur, Gorakhpur, and Siliguri have been successfully delivered by the sellers. Further, a minor fraction of orders (

Sellers dealing with smartphone sales told ET that this typically happens during major sale events when demand for a product exceeds forecasts, hence affecting supply.

“Sometimes, marketplaces do accept orders even if the demand exceeds their forecasts as they would be confident of securing the supply from distributors,” said a person associated with a phone brand. “The orders would only get cancelled if the distributors themselves are facing a supply shortage.”

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This could lead to a delivery timeline of weeks which will affect service levels and the reputations of the marketplaces.

“This is a typical occurrence during festive season sales, where certain models see way higher demand than anticipated and then it goes out of stock,” said Shilpi Jain, analyst at industry tracker Counterpoint Research.

Cancellation of orders is “also an outcome of the same problem, as marketplaces feel they won’t be able to service them. Expensive variants of the same iPhone 13 model are available online,” Jain added.

Smartphone brands are expected to ship around $7.7 billion worth handsets this festive season, a marginal increase compared to last year’s shipment, but overall volumes are expected to drop by 7% compared to last year.

This comes at a time when India is expected to see 5G services being launched from next month.

ET reported on September 26 that other consumer categories have seen a 28% increase in overall order volumes, with personal care and electronic products like smartwatches and audio seeing significant traction during the festive season sale events.

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