Flipkart’s beauty and personal care segment has seen sales double year-on-year and the trend is expected to continue. BusinessLine spoke with Kanchan Mishra, Head of FMCG, Home & General Merchandise, about the segment’s growth and other customer trends. Excerpts:


How has the sales performance of Flipkart’s personal care and beauty segment been?

We have seen sales in the beauty and personal care space double year-on-year. Given that the segment is generally under-penetrated as compared to the average Indian e-commerce site, we expect this growth to continue. But the pandemic was definitely a strong tailwind and it nudged penetration for the beauty and personal care categories, just as it did for a lot of other categories.


Given the growth of vertical platforms such as Nykaa and Purplle in the beauty and personal care segment, what initiatives has Flipkart taken to stay competitive?

The fact that we have a large captive customer base works strongly in our favour. Customers have use cases around beauty and personal care, just as they have with any other category. So, getting the right selection on the platform, along with the right experience and speed brings in a lot of upside.  That apart, one thing that we did really well, and is in line with the core philosophy of Flipkart, is solving for Bharat. We have been able to unlock value for customers very well; we have worked closely with our brands and sellers to co-create products that meet customer requirements, to solve for the price point that customers come looking for on the platform and that has been our biggest USP (unique selling point).


Can you share some geographic and demographic insights about consumers on the platform?

We have customers from across the board, in line with the trends that the larger e-commerce penetration shows in the country. The youngsters or the millennials cohortshow a high degree of ecommerce adoption. Young nesters or new nesters are again very well entrenched, right from their home buying journey to their self-care journey -- they prefer to do everything online. The customer cohort that is still evolving in terms of e-commerce penetration is the 45-plus age group.


Can you share some perspectives around customer stickiness or retention on the platform?

Two customer groups that are stickier on the platform are women and parents, both these customer groups are doubling year-on-year. We’ve seen very healthy growth in terms of customer stickiness and a high degree of repeat orders. The pandemic has also led to customers trying out more categories on the platform. For example, customers come in looking for beauty products, but could end up buying something from the gourmet segment as well. So, that behaviour has added to the stickiness of the customer base, and we’ve seen a very high appetite among customers to try more categories. The number of unique products we sold in the country last year was double that in the year before, this shows that customers are trying a lot more variety on the platform. 


How has the rapid growth of D2C (direct to consumers) brands in India impacted Flipkart?

Most of the D2C brands partner closely with Flipkart and they create a strong pull for customers to come into e-commerce, because they show high agility in terms of product innovation. We work with a lot of them to co-create products which are suited for the white space that we see in the market and in the platform, in terms of the price point, and selection issues. D2C and e-commerce platforms across the globe have seen close collaboration and in Flipkart, our endeavour is to take it a notch higher. So if you see our programmes such as Flipkart Boost, they’re all aimed towards scaling D2C brands.