The number of sellers on the e-commerce marketplace Amazon in India, which has more than 5.5 lakh total sellers, has declined drastically post the lockdown announcement in March. From 1.99 lakh active sellers (those with products listed for sale) as on March 25, the count went into free fall to just 1,538 active sellers the next day – March 26 itself, as per the data sourced from the e-commerce focused business intelligence company, Marketplace Pulse. The number bottomed out to 1,070 sellers (99.46 percent drop) as on March 29, 2020, as Amazon “deactivated all sellers in India,” in order to “prevent the Coronavirus spread”, the data intelligence firm said. However, since then the number has grown only marginally to 1,772 as on April 15, 2020.
“We are tracking it daily – the number of sellers with products for sale is still nearly zero,” Juozas Kaziukenas, Founder and CEO, Marketplace Pulse told Financial Express Online. The first leg of the lockdown, which began from March 25 had restricted e-commerce operations in the country to the sale of only essential goods including grocery, food products, healthcare, hygiene products, etc. Consequently, India’s biggest e-commerce companies Amazon and Flipkart along with Grofers, BigBasket, etc. were flooded with grocery orders as panic buying gripped customers.
An Amazon spokesperson, however, in response said, “Businesses of all sizes continue to trust the Amazon India marketplace to help them grow even in these difficult circumstances. We now have 6 lakh sellers on our marketplace, up from 5.5 lakhs in mid-Jan.”
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Moreover, the number of new sellers joining the marketplace has also nosedived to negligible during the lockdown. In the past 30-day period, the daily new seller count peaked to 870 on March 24, 2020, but declined to 56 on March 25. The least number of daily new joiners was three as on March 30 while the highest numbers at 17, 14, 14, and 13 were registered on March 26, March 27, April 10, and April 14 respectively after March 25. “Amazon India used to get 400 new sellers to join the marketplace every day. Since March 26 that number has dropped to almost zero too,” Kaziukenas added.
“The new seller registration run rate continues to be robust with thousands of new sellers registering on our marketplace three weeks into the lockdown.  We continue to remain razor-focused on helping businesses of all sizes to earn and grow through our marketplace and serve customer needs across India,” the spokesperson added. Marketplace Pulse in a tweet on Wednesday also said that Amazon’s 30-day rolling sales in India are reduced by over 50 percent from when the lockdown started. “The trend points to further drop because the product assortment has shrunk by 99 percent,” it said.
As the country entered into the second leg of the lockdown till May 3, the government on Wednesday, in a clarification, allowed e-commerce companies (from April 20 onwards) to operate without giving clarity on delivery of non-essential items. Moreover under the 13th point of ‘supply of essential goods allowed’ the order by the Ministry of Home Affairs noted that e-commerce companies should be allowed to operate. Amazon and Flipkart continue to fulfill orders of essential items placed earlier before delivering new orders.

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