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APPS-TO-APPS COMPARISON

Looks like Walmart’s investment in Flipkart is beginning to pay off

India Walmart Flipkart
Leading the way.
  • Ananya Bhattacharya
By Ananya Bhattacharya

Tech reporter

Walmart’s $16 billion investment in Indian e-commerce may finally be bearing fruit.

In India, Flipkart and Myntra, two Walmart-owned e-commerce companies, together picked more online activity than rival Amazon. In the last quarter of 2019, these firms together clocked 1.7 billion app sessions compared to under a billion for Jeff Bezos’s company, data show.

“Through these two entities, Walmart is beating Amazon in India with mobile app sessions,” Massachusetts-based app intelligence firm Apptopia said in its Q4 2019 shopping report.

Walmart, which entered India’s wholesale business back in 2007, had no app presence in the country until 2018, when it bought Flipkart in the world’s largest e-commerce acquisition. The acquisition also added to its kitty online fashion retailer Myntra, which Flipkart had bought back in 2014 for $300 million.

Meanwhile, Amazon isn’t laying down weapons just yet. “To fight back, Amazon recently partnered with Future Retail, which operates six retail chains across India,” Apptopia noted. Future Retail is not accounted for in the chart.

Outside the app world, Walmart International’s operating income took a hit after the Flipkart deal, declining 46.2% to $600 million in the September quarter of 2019 from $1.2 billion a year ago. Yet, it is bullish on both Flipkart and Myntra, considering India presents a $120 billion e-commerce opportunity.

Myntra, which acquired rival Jabong in 2016, was subject to streamlining with senior executive departures and layoffs since Walmart entered the scene. Expansion efforts, too, were put into gear. After taking the fashion e-tailer to Canada’s site and stores, Walmart has been exploring ways to bring its brands to the US. Myntra also brought US kidswear brand OshKosh B’Ghosh to India.

Flipkart, on the other hand, is reportedly coming to the rescue of Walmart’s loss-making cash-and-carry business in the country.

Neither Walmart nor Amazon are fully settled in India yet, though. Both players face anti-competitive practice probes. India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, too, is out to give them tough competition.

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