We Could Cross Flip­kart by Di­wali, Claims Ama­zon

Etailer con­tests pro­jec­tions of lower ship­ments than Flip­kart, which says its share of on­line mkt had grown fur­ther

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Gul­veen.Au­lakh @times­group.com

New Delhi: Ama­zon has con­tested pro­jec­tions by re­search firms that the on­line re­tailer had a lower share of the smart­phone mar­ket by both ship­ments and value and claimed it will trump ri­val Flip­kart by Di­wali.

The Seattle-based firm al­leged that a large chunk of Flip­kart’s smart­phone sales went to traders, un­like its own, where al­most all went di­rectly to con­sumers. The Ban­ga­lore-based re­tailer, how­ever, hit back say­ing that the Ama­zon’s re­seller ac­tiv­ity was nearly a third of its sales from the seg­ment.

“Some re­search agen­cies and ar­ti­cles (me­dia re­ports) that have quoted cer­tain num­bers, which we want to clar­ify… We have never shared those num­bers with them,” said Arun Srini­vasan, cat­e­gory leader for con­sumer elec­tron­ics and smart­phones at Ama­zon In­dia, without nam­ing any agency. The agen­cies and re­ports had said Flip­kart was No. 1 in the smart­phone seg­ment with a huge lead over Ama­zon.

“Ac­cord­ing to the feed­back from brands, there’s very lit­tle dif­fer­ence be­tween the two plat­forms, and giv­ing them some ben­e­fit of doubt, there may still be a 10% delta, but that also gets queered by re­turns, re­jects,” Srini­vasan said. He added that the two com­pa­nies were neck-and-neck in the past few months, even though Ama­zon en­tered the seg­ment two years ago.

“It’s pos­si­ble that we could cross them on a sus­tained ba­sis and by Di­wali we could be ahead,” Sriniva- san told ET. Ama­zon is set to launch mod­els from Black­Berry, Nokia, Len­ovo and LG within 10 days.

Ayyap­pan Ra­jagopal, se­nior di­rec­tor of smart­phones at Flip­kart re­it­er­ated that the com­pany's share had in­creased fur­ther to 6768% of the on­line mar­ket, on the back of eight of 10 brands pre­fer­ring to launch new prod­ucts with them. “We have blocked brand launches for the next two months… our fes­tive sea­son will be the best ever.”

Flip­kart had a 57% share of the on­line smart­phone mar­ket in the Jan­uary to March quar­ter, while Ama­zon had 27%, Coun­ter­point Tech­nol­ogy Mar­ket Re­search said. Smart­phones are the largest prod­uct cat­e­gory by rev­enue for Flip­kart and Ama­zon and both have started sell­ing re­fur­bished phones. The stakes are high in a com­pet­i­tive & price-sen­si­tive seg­ment.

A larger share is even more crit­i­cal be­cause the smart­phone seg­ment has re­mained stag­nant and sales of these de­vices are ex­pected to grow at the slow­est pace in 2017, as re­ported by ET on Mon­day.

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