The popularity of mobile phones in India is driving the country’s biggest e-commerce company to shut down its web portal within a year.
FlipKart announced on Monday it will be transitioning over to its mobile app completely because of consumer adoption. The decision to shut down the website may sound extreme to consumers in the U.S. but clearly Flipkart sees mobile as the dominant platform in the future.
“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,” said Michael Adnani, Flipkart’s VP of retail and head of brand alliances, according to The Times of India. “A year ago, 6% 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.”
India’s demographics, as well, as geography are two factors contributing to the decision. Of Flipkart’s 8 million monthly shipments, about two-thirds come from users in small towns and cities, where consumers likely have limited access to desktop computers and broadband Internet. Smartphones are also more affordable than computers.
UPDATE: In a follow-up article, a Flipkart spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s specific plans, but left the door open to the possibility that the desktop site may close one day. “Our desktop continues to be available for now,” said Flipkart’s Payal Banerjee.
Amazon also operates in India, although it has a much smaller presence than Flipkart. Flipkart has more than 40 million registered users and has 30,000 merchants selling more than 20 million products on its platform.
Flipkart’s announcement closely follows the decision by India’s leading fashion retailer, Myntra, to shut down its website in favor of an app. The closure will come as soon as May 1. Flipkart acquired Myntra last year.
Here’s a Flipkart commercial advertising the app: