Mumbai/Bengaluru: For India’s online shoppers, the shift from desktop computers to mobile phones is still a work in progress.
Online travel agencies Cleartrip Pvt. Ltd and MakeMyTrip (India) Pvt. Ltd get just about half of their traffic from their mobile websites (m.makemytrip.com and cleartrip.com/mobile) and mobile phone apps, with the rest coming from desktop websites. Meanwhile, India’s largest e-commerce website Flipkart Ltd and its unit Myntra get the bulk of their traffic from just mobile apps.
Cleartrip said 53% of its total search traffic comes from mobile, out of which 47% comes from the mobile website and 53% from its app. For transactions, 40% of them come from mobile phones, of which as much as 70% comes from the app.
The mobile app numbers are significantly higher for Flipkart-Myntra. Flipkart generates about 75% of its traffic from the mobile app, while that number was 90% for Myntra until it completely shut its desktop and mobile websites and went app-only in May. Flipkart, which too has shut its mobile website, is weighing the shutdown of its desktop site, to accelerate a consumer shift towards using smartphone apps as the preferred medium for online shopping.
When Myntra announced it was going app-only in May, its founder Mukesh Bansal said the closure of the mobile website hadn’t hurt sales at all. The closure of the desktop site, though, has hit sales. Myntra didn’t give the exact details on how much were the sales affected.
However, consumer behaviour seems to be different while purchasing tickets online.
“Cleartrip’s recent-most quarter reported an inflection point for our mobile-first customers, where over 53% of our total traffic came from the mobile channels, overtaking our desktop channel for the first time," said Subramanya Sharma, chief marketing officer at Cleartrip.
“Of this traffic, 47% came from the mobile web and the rest from Cleartrip’s apps. With over 5 million downloads of our apps and 350% year-on-year growth on mobile, we have noticed that for Cleartrip, over 70% of our mobile customers are now using mobile as their only channel of transaction (either through app or mobile website)," Sharma said. Cleartrip’s transactions grew 214% for the June quarter from the year-ago period. Mobile still accounts only for 40% of overall transactions.
MakeMyTrip co-founder and chief executive officer (India) Rajesh Magow said over 50% search is coming from mobile phones, while the mobile app to mobile web ratio is 60:40.
Cleartrip’s Sharma said these numbers only make stronger the company’s resolve to keep Cleartrip accessible so that its customers can use the channels they prefer. “There is a trend of brands shutting down their mobile sites in favour of mobile apps—they claim it is due to the overwhelming effort required to maintain all products across multiple platforms. We think that’s a terribly weak argument coming from companies that have no dearth of resources at their disposal," Sharma noted. “The web is one of the fastest and easiest platforms to develop and maintain (as compared to other front-end platforms), and testimony to that, the recent revamp of our mobile site took us just two months to complete," Sharma added.