Walmart Inc. must ratchet up pressure against rival Amazon.com Inc. to maintain its lead position in India's e-commerce market as both retail behemoths rapidly expand online operations in the South Asian nation, analysts say.
In 2018, Walmart bought a $16 billion majority stake in Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. giving it a foothold in the country's e-commerce market, which is set to grow to $200 billion by 2026. That figure is up from $48.5 billion as of 2018, according to the International Trade Administration.
Amazon is expected to continue investing heavily in the country, dedicating at least $1 billion annually to initiatives that include building out its growing Prime membership program.
Flipkart is the largest online retailer in India, with a 31.9% market share, followed by Amazon at 31.2%. After adding the market share of its fashion specialty sites Myntra and Jabong, Flipkart controls a 38.3% market share.
Amazon's international sales have also slowed in recent years, but the company continues to pursue global markets including the lucrative Middle East and key markets such as Germany.
India represents a growth opportunity for both companies thanks to the growing internet and smartphone usage. Even so, the majority of shopping in India is still done in person, making it essential for retailers to have both online and offline operations.
To encourage digital shopping, the companies compete online during the Indian holiday season each fall, with Flipkart holding its "Big Billion Days" online sale, Amazon hosted its "Great Indian Festival" during the same period. The sales events compare with Singles Day in China and Black Friday in the States.
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