Amazon has launched a Hindi version of its mobile web site and app for Android devices as the online shopping giant seeks to grab a larger share of the Indian e-Commerce market. With Walmart having completed its $16 billion acquisition of Flipkart in August, Amazon has the challenge of fighting off its chief U.S. competitor for top sales in the country.
None of India’s other leading e-Commerce portals, including Flipkart, Snapdeal or Paytm Mall, currently have a local language version of their apps or web sites, according to Reuters. The move to launch a Hindi app and web site could give Amazon access to tens of millions of new customers in India’s small towns and villages.
Establishing a Hindi-based platform is arguably more important than the entrance into India itself — only 10% of India’s 1.3 billion population speaks English, according to The New York Times. Yet most of the Amazon services provided in India thus far have been offered in English only.
Eight out of 10 Indian customers would prefer to shop in a language other than English, according to Amazon’s research on the topic. Given that Amazon pledged $5 billion in operational investment in India in 2014, the company would be wise to use part of that investment to adapt to the cultural habits of the country’s potential shoppers.
Amazon is looking to win over the next 100 million customers in the country, Senior VP and India head Amit Agarwal told Reuters in April, so the additional language offering would go a long way to catering to that total and more. The country’s e-Commerce market, now an estimated $32.7 billion, is projected to grow to $200 billion within 10 years, according to Morgan Stanley.
The e-Commerce giant already has surged up the ranks to become Flipkart’s top rival in 2018, claiming approximately 31.1% of Indian online market share compared to 36.9% for Flipkart (and its fashion unit Myntra), according to Forrester data.
Amazon plans to support more local Indian languages on its app and mobile site and also will extend the service to mobile platforms beyond Android, but there is no present timeline for when those options will be added.