BENGALURU: Amazon India and Flipkart both assert they are outdoing the other in the growth-starved Indian ecommerce market, raising the stakes ahead of their annual festive season bout.
According to Amazon India, the company has surpassed Flipkart, not including fashion units Myntra and Jabong , in terms of value and volume over the past 18 months. As for Flipkart, a company executive said the online marketplace was, "growing at 65-70% in terms of gross merchandise value the last few months, and (was) ahead of Amazon India by 30% in terms of gross sales (excluding Myntra and Jabong)."
Amazon India said the company's gross merchandise sales grew 59% in the June quarter as compared with the same period last year, and in unit terms, at 88%. In the March quarter, the company registered 68% growth in value and 85% in terms of volume. Amazon India calculates GMS after eliminating the tax component on each unit and accounting for product returns and cancellations.
"We are the market leader and have grown consistently across all parameters including traffic, new customer acquisition as well as things that matter to customers -selection, value and convenience," an Amazon India spokeswoman said in an email. "Third-party data also corroborates that we have seen significantly more visits on desktop, app and mobile web."
Both companies declined to share exact numbers.
Their growth figures, however, beat the overall ecommerce industry's 5% gross sales growth in the calendar first quarter and 20% in the next, according to data from RedSeer Consulting. In terms of sales volume, the industry registered a similar 5% growth in the first quarter and 16% in the second. Ecommerce growth for the industry revived in the April-June quarter after staying dull post last year's Diwali. .
This was mainly due to an increase in the number of sale events held before the new goods and services tax was rolled out last month, and as cash started coming back into the economy post November's demonetisation. Another big contributor to the increased sales at both Flipkart and Amazon is Snapdeal's drastic fall in sales.
"Snapdeal was a prominent player till 2016 but has seen a drastic fall compared to the first quarter of last year. Its sales have particularly nosedived since February," said Krishna Choudhury, senior business analyst at RedSeer Consulting. Other online marketplaces, too, have remained stagnant, he said.
Amazon India said it registered faster growth in categories such as home, fashion, kitchen and sports than in mobile phones, and that it continued to invest in more categories, especially in consumables. In the mobile phone category, Amazon had exclusive tie-ups for OnePlus 5, Redmi4 and 4A, and Moto G5, among others, this year.
"Consumer sentiment and preference shows that Amazon is strengthening its hold while Flipkart and Jabong have not been able to hold up as much in the second quarter," said Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst at market research firm Forrester.
The Flipkart executive quoted above said the company has maintained its market leadership in both the fashion and smartphone segments. Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, has aggressive plans for India, which the Seattle-based company reiterated during its recent earnings call. Amazon's investments in India, however, increased its international losses fivefold in the second quarter to a record $724 million.