In the eCommerce war between Amazon and Walmart, global in scope, India looms as a key battleground — especially for the last mile which ultimately will decide the victor.
India, after all, has a population of 1.4 billion individuals, and consumer spending, per sites including Statista, is about $304 USD equivalent. Internet penetration stands at about 47% of the population and is gaining ground (it had been in the low single digits as recently as 2007).
It’s not surprising, then, that Amazon and Walmart would jockey for dominance in the region — but getting the goods delivered with speed and even across borders will be key.
To that end, Flipkart helped drive Walmart’s advertising business 30% higher in the quarter that ended in June.
Elsewhere, PhonePe, the mobile payments platform that is owned by Flipkart and based on UPI, saw its annualized total payments volume surge to $830 billion in the same period, up from $770 billion last quarter. Management said on the conference call with analysts that the monthly transaction volume topped 3.1 billion. Those stats spotlight the eCommerce activity that helped boost online sales internationally by 5.9%.
And with a nod to India as a market, Walmart Chief Financial Officer John David Rainey told analysts that “Flipkart continues to meet our expectations and the team is gearing up for big billion days. I traveled to India last month and was impressed by how Flipkart and PhonePe teams are innovating for the customer and driving growth.”
We reported in this space earlier this year that Flipkart has cutting payment settlement cycles and low return costs.
As for Amazon, reports came earlier this year that the company is seeking to build a logistics division in-house by acquiring 51% of a stake in Ecom Express, the Indian end-to-end logistics solutions provider. Those efforts would speed eCommerce deliveries in the country. Flipkart, of course, has the subsidiary Ekart Logistics, the courier delivery services company.
In a sign of Walmart’s further ambitions in the country (and logistics and fulfillment) — as an outbound market — the company said earlier this year that it would offer Indian manufacturers and trading companies an increased ability to expand globally as cross-border sellers on Walmart Marketplace. The roadmap, per the April 2022 announcement, is part of Walmart’s efforts to expand its sourcing from India to $10 billion a year by 2027. The company said it aims to bring 40,000 new sellers onto the Marketplace this year and to expand the assortment on offer to over 200 million items.
Categories to be sourced from India-based sellers include furniture, bedding and home décor. Walmart will handle fulfillment and last mile activities through Walmart Fulfillment Services.
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