Bengaluru: Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart has crossed the 100-million registered users landmark, becoming one of the few Internet start-ups anywhere in the world to reach the coveted milestone.
Flipkart joins fellow Indian “unicorns”— start-ups valued at over $1 billion—Paytm and Hike in what is a unique club, not just in India but also globally.
Few companies globally have hit the 100-million user mark—these include Facebook, Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Tencent, Pinterest, Uber and WhatsApp.
Among Indian start-ups, Paytm was the first to hit the elusive milestone. In August last year, Paytm claimed that it had crossed 100 million digital wallet users in India. In January, Hike Ltd, which runs messaging app Hike Messenger, claimed that it had breached the 100-million mark.
Hitting the 100 million users mark is a significant achievement for Flipkart, but the next 100 million users will not be easy to come by in India, where the rate of Internet growth still lags the boom that China witnessed during the last decade.
And to be sure, registered users are only one metric of measuring performance.
The number of transacting users, those who buy things online on a fairly regular basis, is much lower than registered users. Analysts estimate that there are about 50-60 million transacting users online.
E-commerce companies have struggled to expand the market this year and investors who were betting that India, which is the world’s last remaining major e-commerce market, would create the world’s next Alibaba have had to temper expectations amid valuation markdowns and a slowdown in funding.
Flipkart on Wednesday claimed that by crossing the 100-million user mark, it had become the first online marketplace in India to reach that milestone. Flipkart said it had crossed the milestone only six months after it touched the 75-million user mark in March this year.
Flipkart is hoping its annual shopping festival, Big Billion Day, to be held from 2-6 October, will help in reaching millions of new users.
The online retailer will be going head-on with arch-rival Amazon India—easily the biggest showdown in Indian e-commerce ever.
“This milestone has further energized us to ramp-up our efforts and build a world-class shopping destination,” Flipkart chief executive Binny Bansal said in a statement.