Far more Indians are searching for Amazon than for Flipkart

Looking up options.
Looking up options.
Image: EPA/Divyakant Solanki
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While Flipkart and Amazon fight for supremacy in India’s e-commerce market, there’s at least one battle where the latter has emerged as a clear winner.

Jeff Bezos-led Amazon made for 46.02% of mobile searches in India, in the e-commerce category on mCent browser app during July-December 2017, according to a report by free internet provider Jana. Flipkart was a distant second with only 20.90% of searches.

In the study, shared exclusively with Quartz, Jana looked at close to 1.65 million mobile search queries from around 800,000 Indian consumers. For the study, Jana analysed popular search terms across several categories and brands to understand India’s digital habits.

The fact that Amazon offers more types of services like video content and hardware, compared to its competitors in India, gives it an edge over others in terms of searches, Nathan Eagle, the chief executive officer at Jana, told Quartz.

Amazon’s annual subscription service, Prime, is a major reason why consumers tend to overwhelmingly pick the Seattle-headquartered online retailer versus its competitors in India, a report by Forrester Research had said last year. India is reportedly the fastest-growing market for Amazon Prime, where users get free one- or two-day shipping on various items, as well as unlimited access to its video content. Flipkart doesn’t offer the latter.

The brand also led in the smart home category. Amazon products—including the smart speaker Echo that was launched in India in November 2017—drove an overwhelming majority of searches, 94.42% against Google Home’s 5.5%, Jana’s survey showed. 

What they want to buy

In the electronics segment, laptops (30.89%), cameras (26.68%), and tablets (15.73%) beat searches for smartphones (15.50%) in the world’s second-largest smartphone market.

This trend may be a result of shoppers searching for smartphones using specific key terms like “Samsung,” Eagle explains. With laptops, Indian consumers are possibly less aware of the brand names and hence, they search for the product category instead.

Indians aspire to own the expensive iPhones, data show. Though many cannot afford the Apple handsets, that doesn’t stop them from looking up the latest models.

Jana’s report showed that Apple was a dominant brand when it came to search terms. The iPhone 8 led the pack with nearly one in five searches, followed by the iPhone X (13.72%).

“This in no way reflects actual transactions but it is likely indicative of aspirational buys,” Eagle said. “It shows that people were cognizant about comparing the features between the iPhone 8 and iPhone X even though iOS (Apple’s operating system) only has a sliver of the market share.”

Beyond researching dream buys in the smartphone segment, price-sensitive Indians were also surfing the internet for affordable options when it comes to other electronics.

With more than half the votes, Roku—a streaming stick that lets viewers use Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Spotify, and more on their TVs—stoked the most interest compared to other streaming devices. That includes Apple TV, Google Chromecast (13.31%), and Amazon Fire TV (4.17%), which are bigger brand names overall. “Roku was surprising to us as well, though compared to more premium services like Apple TV, it’s at a price point that makes it more acceptable to the Indian user,” said Eagle.