After announcing that it is downing the shutters on the recently acquired fashion portal Myntra’s website on May 1, Flipkart is also planning to follow suit. VP Michael Adnani told Economic Times that the e-commerce giant will shift to an app-only model within a year. Also Read - Today's Tech News: Samsung Galaxy S20 price cut, Signal ramps up hiringAlso Read - Flipkart announces Big Saving Days sale, begins on January 20
“Last year, we had more on the app, but still did our Web and desktop. In the next year or so, we’re going to be only mobile. A year ago, six percent of our traffic was coming from mobile. In less than 18 months, that traffic is 10-fold. That shows the significance of what a mobile phone is doing for the consumers and consequently doing for us,” Adnani said.
This move comes as there is a rapid increase in smartphone users in the country. Smartphone shipments have increased eight-fold in just three years with 80 million last year, from 10 million in 2011. The untapped rural areas are going to be the way forward in online retail, with most of the people gaining first Internet access through mobiles. Rural Internet users accounted for 31 percent of total Internet users in 2014, up from eight percent in 2009. A report by Morgan Stanley also indicates that Indian online shopper penetration will increase from nine percent in 2013 to 36 percent in 2020, and will be primarily led by mobile users.
Adnani said that the peak in mobile traffic has steered this focus on app-only. Currently, Flipkart does about 8 million shipments a month, and two-thirds of its online traffic comes from users in small cities and towns. With the rise of affordable smartphones in the country, the traffic through mobile is bound to increase further.
Myntra’s move to mobile-only was also due to high traffic through the app. Currently, Myntra draws as much as 80 percent of its traffic and 70 percent of sales from its mobile app. E-commerce companies have been pushing their customers to download their apps through exclusive offers and discounts on the mobile platform. Flipkart and Myntra both have shut down their mobile website already, and users have to compulsorily download the app to browse through both the platforms on their smartphone.