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Flipkart to take app route; says 70-75 % of its total traffic comes from mobile app

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MUMBAI: After taking the only app route with e-tailing platform Myntra, the Bansals are now gearing to make even Flipkart an only app platform by September, 2015.  

Online shopaholics will now have to squeeze in the Flipkart app somewhere in their congested phone memory if they want to use attractive discounts and shop from the rapidly growing venture. Customers will only be able to shop from the app as is the case now with Myntra. It must be noted that post going only app way Myntra has witnessed a 10 per cent drop in sales.

In a statement Flipkart spokesperson asserted, “India is gradually transitioning from a mobile first to a mobile only country. At Flipkart, we have been following a mobile first approach and 70-75 per cent of our total traffic is already coming from our mobile app. We are constantly experimenting with various aspects of our service to create the best shopping experience for our users on our app. Meanwhile, we continue to offer both desktop as well as mobile option for our customers."

Mobile is driving the internet penetration in India and till December 2014, India had 173 million mobile phone internet users. The figure witnessed a growth of 33 per cent if compared to the 2013 analysis and is expected to grow by CAGR 21 per cent from 2014 to 2019. 

The key factors that will drive the growth of mobile are:

.  Increasing investments by telecom operators in data infrastructure.

.  Push for favourable regulations from industry bodies.

.  Falling handset prices.

.  Economic growth of the country and financial stability of middleclass.

.  Increase in mobile screen sizes and quality of display.

.  Improving quality of curated online content.

As per Google play store analysis, Indians keep social media in the top spot in their priority list followed by shopping platforms, when it comes to downloading of apps. With over one billion downloads, Whatsapp leads the tally of most downloaded free apps followed by Facebook messenger. Flipkart is currently placed on the fifth slot, with over 10 million downloads on Android. Its US based competitor Amazon India holds the 13th spot.

In terms of web search google.co.in tops the list of most visited websites in India followed by facebook.com. Flipkart which is speculated to take its website off holds the fifth place over Amazon.in which is placed seventh. They are the only two shopping websites to have a presence in the list of top 10 website searches in India.

At this point of time, India approximately has over 300 million internet users out of which 66 per cent come from Desktop PCs and Laptops, 55 per cent comes from mobile phones (it is estimated to grow by CAGR 21 per cent), and 11 per cent from Tablets.

Android dominates the mobile platform with mammoth 91 per cent market share, iOS holds 2 per cent share where as Windows occupies 6 per cent of the marketplace.

An e-commerce expert said, “The number of smartphones is already higher than number of computers, moreover people spend more time on mobile phone compared to PCs and laptops. Besides that, from an app, wide variety of consumer insights can be acquired which can emerge as an effective factor when it comes to marketing. So there are a lot of factors which signifies the positives of apps and why players are taking the only app route.”

According to the expert, it could be to subtly force consumers to download the app. “It could be that once they reach their target they might have both: the app and the website. They have already experienced it with Myntra. They certainly have a plan which might result in a temporary drop of their sales but in the long run will be efficiently effective.”

India is the fastest growing smartphone market. It currently has over 200 million online shoppers dominated by travel category. The number is expected to witness huge growth as various players are starting different interactive initiatives to popularise the medium in rural India.

Key challenges for Flipkart if they go only app way:

.   Making consumers download the app.

.   Not letting customers shift to competitors.

.   Having adequate backend facilities to ensure smooth running of the app.

.   Making proper use of the acquired consumer insights.

The only app route can also open up opportunities for joint marketing and monetization avenues between the venture and telcos. What remains to be seen is if the only app formula will bring in another source of revenue for the venture. 

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