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Amazon is thrashing Walmart in the great Indian e-commerce war

Only five years after its entry into India – potentially one of the world’s largest e-commerce markets – Amazon (AMZN) is already outstripping its biggest rival Flipkart, according to a recent report. It may be noted that Walmart (WMT) owns a 77% stake in the Bengaluru-based e-commerce firm, and hence Amazon’s lead over Flipkart translates to a chokeslam on its biggest rival back home.

amazon vs walmart india
Photo by Piotr Cichosz on Unsplash

According to the report by Barclays, Amazon is now India’s biggest online shopping platform in terms of gross merchandise value (GMV). For the fiscal year 2017-18, Amazon’s GMV stands at $7.5 billion, 20% higher than Flipkart with around $6.2 billion. However, both the companies go neck-in-neck when taking into account Flipkart’s subsidiaries Jabong and Myntra.

As far as revenues are concerned, Flipkart continues to be the bigger firm. For the year ended March 2018, Flipkart had revenues of $3.8 billion, compared to $3.2 billion for Amazon. However, the tables are likely to change soon as Amazon is growing at almost double the rate as the home-grown e-tailer.

Barclays estimates Flipkart’s year-over-year growth at 47%. But this remains a modest figure considering the whopping 82% estimated for Amazon. Going by this pace, it’s only a matter of time before Amazon usurps Flipkart as India’s biggest player.


Both Amazon and Walmart see India as a big growth opportunity, and the Barclays report seals this hypothesis. The report predicts that the number of Indian online shoppers would increase from the current 80 million to 180 million by 2020. During the same period, the business is projected to double to a range of $40-45 billion.

In order to exploit this green pasture, both Amazon and Walmart are heavily investing in this market. In fact, Walmart’s acquisition of a majority stake in Flipkart for $16 billion earlier this year is the largest investment by the world’s biggest department store chain.

But it doesn’t end there. In its biggest capital infusion till date, Flipkart recently injected almost $500 million into its online marketplace. On the other hand, Amazon has so far this year pumped in $1 billion into its India operations.

Flipkart deal will pitch Walmart against Amazon in India

Market observers see more capital injections coming to the sub-continent, which is projected to cause combined losses for both companies in the current fiscal year of around $3 billion.

Adding to Walmart’s woes, Flipkart’s CEO and co-founder Binny Bansal earlier this month stepped down following allegations of “personal misconduct.” The other co-founder Sachin Bansal had left the company at the time of the acquisition.

If the Barclays report is to be believed, Amazon has already half-won the war.

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