20 Dec 2017 13:46 IST

Amazon stakes claim as e-commerce leader

Says growth rate is 50% faster than competition

Nearly five years after launching its platform in India, the world’s largest e-commerce player, Amazon, has claimed the leadership position in one of the most bitterly fought spaces in the country.

“On an overall market-base level, we have 44 per cent customer share and 42 per cent order-share, and we have the data to back it up. Our growth rate is 50 per cent faster than competition, our traffic is 200 per cent more and we are exiting this year clearly in the lead, as per (marketing firm) KANTAR IMRB” Amit Agarwal, Senior Vice-President, and Country Manager, told BusinessLine on Tuesday.

This puts Flipkart behind its cross-country rival for the first time.

Growing exports

Agarwal also said he expects exports to grow bigger than the firm’s Indian marketplace in the next five years. He said around 25,000 sellers from India, part of Amazon Global Selling programme, sell about 75 million items across its e-commerce portals in 10 geographies.

Over the 12 months, the firm has doubled its product selection to 160 million and added 1 lakh sellers, totalling 2,70,000.

Loyalty programme

Agarwal said the biggest measure of success for the company was that millions of its customers are paying ₹999 a year for its Prime membership. “Forty per cent of units sold every day are shopped by Prime members, and India has seen the maximum sign-ups for Prime in the last 12 months compared with other geographies.”

Consumables (FMCG and food), a category which is just 18 months old, already enjoys the largest unit share, far more than consumer electronics, Agarwal said. It is already the biggest, followed by the fashion segment. During the 30-day festival season on a standalone basis, Amazon had the largest transaction share vs Flipkart alone.

Festival cheer

“We have almost 85 per cent of the new customers from lower tier cities or small towns. During the festival season, customers in 99.7 per cent of India’s pin codes placed orders in 30 days.”

Agarwal, who earlier worked with Amazon’s India development centre, said the e-commerce platform has 17,500 points in 225 cities. “It is like an Amazon is near you. It is probably bigger than the organised retail structure.

Udaan, the firm’s brick-and-mortar stores, have grown to 15,000 in 21 States. The company claims to have enabled about 250 start-ups to sell 17,000 products through it platform, and 50 of them have gone global.

Agarwal made it clear that the growth rate, customer share and order share are more important than GMS (Gross Merchandise Sales) as a metric.

Customer over metrics

Customer experience goal. That’s more important for us. The customer trust is more important to us.”

He said half of the company’s investment go into adding fulfilment centres, sort centres and other logistics needs. The company currently has 41 fulfilment centres across 10 states. Amazon has also provided software tools to its sellers that allow them to convert their locations into fulfilment centres. “We will continue to invest, but for us ambition will drive our investments.”

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