Bengaluru: Flipkart Ltd has reported a jump of 43% in gross merchandise value (GMV) for the six months ended 30 September, an indication that India’s largest e-commerce firm is consistently holding its own against Amazon India after a tough 18 months during which it lost market share and pushed out most of its senior leaders.
According to a financial report from Naspers, one of Flipkart’s largest shareholders, Flipkart has seen a jump in its market share from the year-ago period.
Naspers said Flipkart, which owns fashion retailers Myntra and Jabong and payments app PhonePe, further cemented its position at the helm of Indian e-commerce during the recently-concluded festive season sale when it handily outsold arch-rival Amazon India.
“Flipkart, the group’s equity-accounted investment in India, continued its growth acceleration and further solidified its market leadership. During the recent festive season sales period, Flipkart captured around 70% of the total e-commerce market. Flipkart has also secured substantial capital from investors—including Tencent and SoftBank—to continue building its position as a leading business-to-consumer (B2C) platform in the fast-growing Indian market," Naspers said on Thursday in its half-yearly report.
Naspers’ latest growth and market-share numbers on Indian e-commerce are based on Flipkart’s estimates.
Neither Flipkart nor Naspers has disclosed Flipkart’s GMV.
Amazon India (Amazon Seller Services Pvt Ltd) has repeatedly disputed the claim that it lags Flipkart (excluding Myntra and Jabong) and has asserted that its way of calculating gross sales could be different from that used by Flipkart. Gross sales refers to the value of goods sold on a platform, not net revenue.
In the first two quarters ended 30 June, Amazon has said that its unit sales grew by 85% and 88%, respectively, over the comparable period in 2016.
According to the latest filing from Naspers, the South African firm currently holds a 14% stake in Flipkart. Naspers said it bought shares worth $71 million from other existing investors in Flipkart in April.
Naspers said Flipkart’s share of monthly GMV stood at roughly 58% in June this year, up from 45% in June 2016.
“We are leaders in Selection, Customer Traffic, Mobile App Store rankings and Daily Active App users among shopping apps as per independent and credible third party sources. As of June 2017, we lead the second largest player in traffic by 58% on PC, 129% on mobile web and have 52% more app downloads," an Amazon spokesperson said in an email, citing Similarweb and App Annie data.
“There are no credible third party reports analysing the growth of the e-commerce sector in India. Though as per the recent Kantar IMRB reports for the festive season, Amazon.in led with the highest customer share of 44% and order share of 42%."
“Flipkart increased its share of GMV to 58% (17 June), compared to 45% a year ago. Flipkart.com is the category leader in 12 of 20 focus categories, including mobile phones, TVs, laptops and fashion," said Naspers.
Naspers also stated that Flipkart’s strong growth during the first-half had helped shore up the value of Naspers’ holdings in the e-commerce space.
“Driven by increased scale and strong growth from Flipkart, classifieds and payments, e-commerce revenue growth accelerated to 38% YoY, a significant increase on the 24% reported in the prior year," said Naspers.
Flipkart and Naspers did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
On Thursday, Mint reported that Amazon India’s revenue at its marketplace arm more than doubled in the year ended March. Sales at Amazon Seller Services rose 105% in the 2016-17 fiscal, although regulatory filings by the company showed an increase of only 41%.
An Amazon spokeswoman said the difference in growth figures was due to one-time charges, which she declined to specify. The latest claims from Naspers show that Flipkart has displayed signs of being back to its best. The turnaround in sales was engineered by former Tiger Global Management executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy who was brought back to the company by alarmed investors in June 2016 amid an all-out assault from Amazon India.
Prior to Krishnamurthy’s return, sales had stagnated at Flipkart and during the months of July and August, Amazon India had, in fact, overtaken Flipkart’s monthly sales on a standalone basis, as Mint reported in August and September 2016. Flipkart has either forced out or lost most of its senior management team after Krishnamurthy was promoted to CEO in January.
“We are extremely excited with our India progress. We saw a very successful debut for Prime, getting its most successful debut year ever in the history of Amazon," the Amazon India spokesperson added.