Merchants, kiranas, and MSMEs have recorded increased growth in 2021 as compared to 2020, according to the findings of a recent study by Flipkart.

Tier 3+ cities have emerged as strong growth markets, as per the report

“There has been a change in the way Indians are looking at shopping, not just in urban regions but also in smaller cities and towns,” the report said.

Flipkart witnessed a 47 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) customer growth in Tier 3+ cities this past year.

“Customer insights indicate that e-commerce is gaining in popularity as it offers greater convenience, user-friendly interfaces enabled by technology, inclusive access to a wide range of products and affordable financial constructs,” it said.

Fashion emerged as the top category for shopping on the platform in Tier 3+ cities, witnessing the biggest y-o-y customer growth of 58 per cent.

“This growth can be attributed to the successful democratisation of fashion by Flipkart and the growing role of social media in influencing shopping decisions,” it said.

Smartphones, audio devices, grooming products, fashion wearables (fashion jewelry, wallets, belts, sunglasses), men’s footwear, and household items were some of the top categories that were in high demand for shoppers in these cities.

Neighbourhood kiranas

Kirana stores also witnessed high growth. Over one lakh kiranas have been onboarded with Flipkart who make 30 per cent of the over 60 million deliveries made per month across the country. These kirana partners also witnessed an increase of over 30 per cent in their average delivery incomes compared to last year, “which helped drive the adoption of e-commerce across smaller cities through a faster delivery experience,” the report said.

“The increasing adoption of customers from across the country, particularly Tier 3+ cities, was largely enabled by the rapid expansion of supply chain infrastructure and extended delivery partners,” it said.

Flipkart’s hyperlocal delivery business witnessed a 25x increase in orders compared to 2020.

The share of hyperlocal orders within total grocery orders on Flipkart increased from 1 per cent in 2020 to over 17 per cent in 2021.

“Flipkart continues to gain ground in this segment with Flipkart Quick, which enables consumers to get their products delivered within 90 minutes of placing an order online,” it said.

The e-commerce major has also made deep investments in its Grocery business in the past two years, witnessing increased adoption by consumers from Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets.

The category has seen a 2x growth in revenue and customers respectively in 2021. It is on track to service customers in 1,800 cities by the end of 2021, including Ajmer, Amritsar, Bhuj, Bokaro, Daman & Diu, Dehradun and Kanyakumari, among others.

Vernacular language interface

With e-commerce adoption on the rise in Tier 3+ cities, the share of Indian-language users on Flipkart has also risen from 12 per cent in Q42020 to 18 per cent in Q42021. Further, smartphones account for 57 per cent of regional language traffic, followed by fashion wearables (44 per cent), and audio devices (39 per cent) respectively.

Tier 3+ cities also had the highest percentage of non-English users (22 per cent), indicating that regional languages will continue to play an important role in attracting and retaining consumers from these markets as per the report.

Among the 11 Indian language interfaces on Flipkart, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali are the most widely used languages on the platform, growing by over two times over the past one year. Bengali and Malayalam are witnessing the fastest growth in terms of adoption among new customers.

Flipkart’s Voice Search witnessed nearly three million daily queries this year, with Tier 3+ cities constituting more than half of the overall voice queries. Patna, Ranchi, Surat and Bhagalpur are among the top 25 cities.

Wholesale

“Kiranas and retailers have shown increased adoption of Flipkart Wholesale witnessing solid growth across categories,” as per the report.

Fashion category clocked an overall growth of 9.4x and its customer base grew by 3.5x. In terms of e-commerce adoption, it surged by 2x while the selection for this category grew by 4x. In 2021, Flipkart Wholesale’s fashion category also expanded its reach from 8 cities to 1,715.

Grocery category witnessed 1.2x growth at a gross level and a surge of 1.1x in its total customer base. Unassisted share of grocery also increased by 2.5x.

The report further added that the general merchandising category saw an overall growth of 1.12x and its customer base moved up by 1.2x four months into its launch on the Flipkart Wholesale platform. General merchandising also recorded a 4x growth in its e-commerce adoption and 9x growth in the selection while expanding its presence from 29 cities to 351.

Deeper partnerships

“The growth of the D2C model and the rise of online shoppers has paved the way for more brands to explore deeper partnerships with Flipkart,” it said.

The platform witnessed twice as many more brand partnerships in 2021 compared to last year.

Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group, said, “As India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, we are committed to deliver the best products to all customers using the latest technology, irrespective of their location.”

“We will continue to introduce innovations that meet consumers’ rising expectations while also empowering sellers, merchants and MSMEs to access the Indian market more effectively and efficiently,” added Kumar.

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