Reacting to the advertisement, the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA), which represents 150,000 mobile retailers, has written to leading smartphone brands to highlight the issue and also ask the brand heads to “issue either a joint or individual statement in prominent news media outlets, publicly clarifying that these statements are not accurate.”
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“Our purpose in addressing you is to express our deep concern and disappointment regarding the recent wave of derogatory advertisements that have been proliferating across various online platforms, social media, and print media. These advertisements have been influencing the buying behaviour of customers through false and misleading statements, such as the one promoted by Flipkart with the endorsement of the mega star, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, stating, ‘yeh Dukan per nahin milne wala’ (This will not be found in stores),” AIMRA said in its letter to smartphone brands. ET has reviewed copies of the letter.
Flipkart, meanwhile, has made the ad private on YouTube. Emails to the company did not elicit a response till press time.
Separately, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), a body representing 80 million retailers, has written to the Bollywood actor condemning his endorsement.
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“We are highly disheartened to witness your recent advertisement for Flipkart, where you claimed that deals and offers are not available at shopkeepers, thereby misleading and influencing customers…,” CAIT said.
E-commerce platforms, in a bid to increase revenues, often undertake deep discounting of products, especially smartphones, undercutting retail competition to offer deals that are hard to ignore by consumers, say market experts.
Deep discounting, often seen as predatory pricing by small Indian retailers, have been a bone of contention in the fight between the online platforms and offline retailers. The government is reportedly in the process of drafting an e-commerce policy, which is expected to address the issue of deep discounting, among others.
Meanwhile, the retailer bodies are in talks with smartphone brands to ensure adequate stocks of popular models and parity in prices, ET reported earlier.
The development comes at a time of growing phone shipments to offline channels. Overall shipments to online channels fell 15% from a year earlier in Q2 2023, while offline channels grew by 11% to capture 54% market share, IDC India said.
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