Amazon looks to be turning the heat on Flipkart. The US online retail giant has caught up with its Indian rival on the web.
Amazon looks to be turning the heat on Flipkart. The US online retail giant has caught up with its Indian rival on the web. While Flipkart still leads by a distance in the mobile app space, which accounts for nearly three quarters of e-commerce traffic, the gap is narrowing fast.
In the past three months, when Amazon intensified its campaigns through the Independence Day and the Dussehra and Diwali sales, even the app download differences were significantly down. Between July 29 and October 26 this year, the total number of Amazon app downloads was 8.1 million, just a million less than Flipkart's 9 million, according to mobile app data analytics platform App Annie.
Internet usage analytics firm SimilarWeb also finds Amazon making rapid strides in the 28 days of October. While Flipkart's overall installed app base during this period went up from 35% of all phones to 38%, Amazon's moved up from 11% to 19%. The data from the same website also shows that Amazon's overall daily active users during this period went up from 1% to 5% (of the installed base), while that of Flipkart moved up from 5% to 7%.
Japanese investment bank Nomura's India Internet report released last week says that in App Annie's composite app ranking over the last month, Flipkart's app ranking in India moved up 10 positions to No. 1, while Amazon India's ranking moved up 16 positions to No. 2, and Snapdeal's ranking moved up 23 positions to No. 4 on the Android platform. The app rankings take into account traffic, engagement, uninstalls, downloads and velocity of downloads, among many other parameters.
On the web - desktop and mobile - data from multiple tracking agencies, including comScore, SimilarWeb, Alexa (owned by Amazon), show that Amazon is very close to Flipkart in terms of traffic and unique visitors. Flipkart still has a substantial lead in pageviews, but a consumer survey done with 15,000 people over e-mail and phone by Etailing India, an e-commerce analysis firm, shows that Amazon has greater consumer stickiness than Flipkart.
The big question is, will Amazon be able to sustain the festival season performance? "Amazon has covered up a lot of ground during the festive season and more people are exploring the platform. But this might not be forever," said a brokerage firm analyst, who is not authorized to speak with the media. In the January-July period, before the festival season, SimilarWeb found that almost 7.5% of India's Android smartphone owners used either Flipkart or Myntra (a Flipkart subsidiary) apps daily. That same figure for Snapdeal was 2.4%, and for Amazon was 1.6%.
Flipkart too dismisses the Amazon challenge. "Amazon is a legacy desktop company while we are a mobile-focused company. They understand the American market well, but India is a mobile commerce market," a Flipkart spokesperson told TOI.
However, Amit Agarwal, Amazon India country manager, said Flipkart had been around for eight years, whereas Amazon entered India just two years ago. "During the festive season sales, we had as many new customers coming on desktop as on mobile," he said.
Flipkart's gross merchandize value (the total value of sales on its platform) is seen to be at least 20% higher than Amazon's. "But the way trends are moving, over the next 12 months, Amazon with its technology, processes and customer experience might surpass Flipkart," said Ashish Jhalani of Etailing India.