Amazon, Flipkart bet on India eCommerce growth

Jitender Miglani/Forrester Research
11 Aug 2014
00:00

Last week, two news items captured the front-page headlines of the Indian financial newspapers. The first was an announcement by Flipkart on July 29 that it has raised fresh capital of $1 billion in one of the largest funding rounds. The second was an announcement by Amazon on July 30 that it will invest another $2 billion in India.

These numbers appeared large to us when seen in the context of overall online retail sales in India. As per the Forrester Asia Pacific online retail forecast published in early October 2013, India’s online retail spending was expected to reach $2 billion by the end of 2013. We believe that the pace of eCommerce in India picked up faster than our expectations during the past 12 months and these companies would have witnessed very strong growth.

According to Amazon, at current scale and growth rates, India is on track to become the fastest country ever to reach $1 billion in gross sales. It is important to note that Amazon launched India operations in June 2013 only.

These events raised many interesting research questions for us. We will try to address them as we work toward updating our APAC online retail forecast for the years 2014 to 2019. The two most important questions relate to the number of online buyers in India and the mobile commerce opportunity in India.

Online buyers in India

In its announcement, Flipkart reported that it has 22 million registered users, of which 4 million visit daily. According to Forrester’s Asia Pacific online retail forecast for the years 2013 to 2018, the number of online buyers in India will reach 39 million by the end of 2014 and 128 million by the end of 2018.

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