Flipkart now sells more than half the smartphones online, taking a bigger lead over Amazon in the crucial category. This is first time when Flipkart beats Amazon over smartphone sales.
Flipkart grew its market share of online smartphone shipments to 51% in 2017, from 44% the year before, while Amazon’s increased marginally to 33% in 2017 from 31%, according to a report by Counterpoint Research.
Flipkart’s smartphone volumes grew by 43% in 2017, compared to Amazon’s growth of 33%, said the report released on Friday.
Overall online smartphone shipments grew 23% annually, faster than the overall smartphone market in 2017, with Flipkart and Amazon capturing a combined 84% of the total volume and 87% of the total value. Chinese brand Xiaomi’s mi.com is also aggressively pushing sales through its own platform, now contributing 10% to overall online smartphone shipments.
Flipkart, however, contested the numbers, citing a larger market share and growth. Amazon did not respond.
“While they (Counterpoint) are directionally right about the market share, they have underplayed Flipkart’s numbers. We have 70% online market share and are growing 70% year-on-year,” said Ayyappan Rajagopal, senior director of smartphones at Flipkart.
“We have been able to take the lead because of the exclusives launched on Flipkart and the affordability offerings,” he added.
Exclusive smartphone deals on online platforms pushed sales for both platforms, with nearly 100 exclusive smartphones launched online last year, Counterpoint said.
“Exclusive smartphone models are the main heroes on online platforms, and whichever platform gets more deals will have more sales,” said Karn Chauhan, research analyst at Counterpoint.
“Flipkart took lead in this with an exclusive for Redmi Note 4 in January 2017, while Amazon started exclusive deals only in April with Redmi 4A. This gave Flipkart the lead,” he said.
Flipkart had 64 exclusives, with 158 phone models launched on the platform in 2017, Ayyappan said.
Amazon had the upper hand in the premium segment in the category, which is in the price range above Rs 30,000.
Amazon contributed 63% to online smartphone premium segment shipments in 2017 driven by sales of OnePlus and Apple, according to the report. Flipkart’s contribution was 31% of online smartphone premium segment.
The average selling price of smartphones sold online was Rs 11,500, growing 10% annually, and was 5% higher than the offline channel.
While online smartphone market shipments contributed to more than one-third of total smartphones sold in 2017, Counterpoint expects the share of online to remain flat in 2018, citing the offline-online hybrid strategies of smartphone brands.