Flipkart Group’s losses surged by 68 percent to Rs 8,771 crore in the financial year ending March 2017 as the e-commerce giant continued to spend heavily to maintain its lead over Amazon in India. According to the regulatory filings made by the online retailer’s parent company in Singapore, while revenues rose by 29 percent to Rs 19,854 crore, losses increased on the back of its falling valuation.
According to ET, Flipkart’s losses were primarily due to a five-fold increase in the finance costs to Rs 4,308 crore owing to fall in valuation which fell from $15.2 billion in 2015 to $11.6 billion in April 2017. This marked an increase of a whopping 434 percent as compared to FY 16.
As a result, the fair value loss on derivative financial instruments stood at Rs 3,412 crore in the said period. Without this cost, the overall loss would have increased by 2.4 percent, suggesting control over expenses.
In FY 17, the advertisement and business promotion expenses increased by 9.4 percent to Rs 1,188 crore, as compared to Rs 1,086 crore in FY 16. The employee benefit expenses which includes employee bonuses and salaries also increased by 9 percent to Rs 2,052 crore in FY 17.
However, the rate of revenue growth slowed from close to 50 percent in FY 16. According to analysts, while Flipkart is not growing by close to 100 percent annually as it used to 3-4 years ago, the current state is what is expected in its life cycle.
Recently, CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said the company will now focus on increase in the monthly active transacting customers as the key metric and profitability has taken a backseat. This is indicative of an aggressive push into new areas including grocery and also on hiring technology talent for areas such as artificial intelligence.
Another area of focus for Flipkart is private label brands across categories including fashion, electronics and smartphones. It is expected that these categories contribute about 15-20 percent of its overall sales volume within three years.
For Flipkart to make huge profits like rivals Alibaba and Amazon, analysts suggest focus on other high-margin verticals such as jewelry, along with cutting down on costs while remaining competitive.