Flipkart and Myntra, India’s largest e-commerce players, have shut down their mobile websites and users are now redirected to Google’s Play Store and iOS’ App Store to download the application. However it is interesting to note that the mobile website is active on the Symbian operating system for older Nokias.
Livemint also adds that this is part of Flipkart’s larger strategy to become an app-only platform and is also considering shutting down its desktop website and is going to shut down Myntra’s desktop website soon. The report also added that Myntra already generates more than 90% of its traffic and 70% of its orders from its mobile app.
It will be interesting to see if its competitors, Amazon and Snapdeal, will go the same way and shift completely to mobile. We Are Social’s report had some interesting statistics on desktop usage too and points out that almost 13% of the Indian population use PC/Laptops to research on eCommerce site, while 14% actually purchase via desktops/laptops.According to the survey, 72% of Indian population use mobile to search for a website while only 27% use desktop/laptop.
While we accept that mobile will become increasingly the way forward for internet companies in India, it doesn’t make good sense to shut down a mobile website. Take for example Cleartrip which said that mobile web accounted for 20% of the hotel bookings on handheld devices. Android accounted for 56% while iOS accounted for 24%. Granted that the number put out by Cleartrip is a smaller than the other two operating system, but it is still significant.
It would also seem that moving to an app-only model would limit a user’s ability to compare prices on other competitors websites. Something that won’t go down well in a price-sensitive market such as India. The sentiment seems to echo on Twitter too.
Maybe @flipkart has stats to prove otherwise but I won’t install the app, and won’t shop if access is restricted.
— Hetal Rach (@heytal) March 20, 2015
Flipkart’s decision to shut down mobile site (and kiss goodbye to 50+% traffic) in favour of app is crazy audacious.
— Shashikant Kore (@kshashi) March 20, 2015
Flipkart’s move to app-only is driven more by the imperative to pander to the “India mobile-first” narrative than any real tech/biz reason
— Sumanth Raghavendra (@sumanthr) March 20, 2015