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Flipkart, Amazon reduce ad spends on Google

Google's upcoming e-commerce platform is likely to be a threat.

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MUMBAI: With Google launching an e-commerce platform in the near future, the country’s largest online retail stores, Flipkart and Amazon India, have slashed advertising spends on the web-search company. Both the players see this as a serious threat, as a Mint report quoted two people, familiar with the matter.

According to a person quoted above, Flipkart and Amazon have reduced spending on Google by more than 30 per cent in the previous three months compared to months before and shifted some of that ad spending to other platforms. Until last year, the two online retailers used to spend hundreds of crores of rupees buying ads on Google.

Google’s interest in e-commerce stems from its worry that some shoppers are going straight to Amazon to search for products rather than using Google. If this trend continues, it could threaten Google’s core business of digital advertising. Amazon is already generating billions of dollars in ad revenues in the US.

The people added that, Google was keen on investing in Flipkart because it wanted a strategic partner to help it with its e-commerce push. However, Google wanted a much closer collaboration than Flipkart and its new owner, Walmart, were willing to offer.

Google’s e-commerce push and the rising importance of Flipkart and Amazon in digital ads are the latest examples of how intertwined the tech business has become and how internet firms are increasingly encroaching on each other’s turf.

Google’s retail entry may result in higher losses for existing e-commerce firms. The e-commerce market grew 23 per cent to $18 billion in 2017, according to RedSeer Consulting. India’s e-commerce market is a fraction of the size of China’s or the US. Yet, Flipkart, Amazon India and Paytm Mall bear huge losses while specialty e-commerce firms are struggling to grow sales quickly.

A new serious entrant with deep pockets like Google will strengthen the view that India’s e-commerce market is overcrowded.

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