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Flipkart made its way into more Indian smartphones than Amazon this festive season

FILE PHOTO: A worker removes an advertisement billboard of Indian online marketplace Flipkart, installed along the roadside in Mumbai
Reuters/Shailesh Andrade
Bigger than before.
  • Ananya Bhattacharya
By Ananya Bhattacharya

Tech reporter

Walmart appears to have leaped ahead of Amazon in the crucial festive season e-commerce wars in India this year.

Flipkart clocked higher new app installs during the festive sales this year, an Oct. 22 report by market intelligence firm Apptopia found.

Flipkart and Amazon ran their flagship festive season sales, Big Billion Days and Great Indian Festival, respectively, nearly simultaneously starting Oct. 15. The two reportedly raked in $3.5 billion (Rs26,000 crores) in just four days.

Overall, new installs of e-commerce apps grew more this year than last year, Apptopia found. “This is likely due to more people staying home out of precaution for the pandemic,” the Boston-headquartered firm said. “Most of India’s commerce is still done in person but the pandemic has accelerated the country’s transition to online.

“Flipkart got its start in India before Amazon and is native to the country. This may account for the company’s large lead in mobile app performance,” Apptopia said.

Baiting India’s smartphone app users

Flipkart clocked 118 million sessions, which counts every time a user opens the app. The figure left Amazon’s 69 million in the dust.

“Sessions are good to measure because they take into account anyone with the app on their phone whereas a download is a measure of a new user,” said Adam Blacker, vice-president of insights and global alliances at Apptopia.

Amazon and Walmart have gone head-to-head in the US for years but India is a newer battleground.

Walmart entered e-commerce in India with its acquisition of Flipkart just over two years ago. In the deal, it also got Flipkart-owned fashion e-commerce site Myntra. Together, the two Indian players have helped up its app game. During the period studied by Apptopia,  Myntra brought in 1.8 million downloads, a 374% increase over its performance a year prior.

Outside of apps, the jury’s still out on the winner. And besides the two fierce competitors, India’s richest man is coming out of the wings. Mukesh Ambani is slowly and steadily building his own e-commerce venture, JioMart, to rival the behemoths.

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