Flipkart's shutting its website. No, that doesn't mean it's going out of business (far from it). It just means that the $12 billion e-commerce giant is going to exist only as a dinky little app on your smartphone, reveals a new report.
Michael Adani, Flipkart's vice-president of retail and head of brand alliances told the Economic Times that the platform's mobile traffic had grown 10 times over in the last 18 months. In the next year or so, Flipkart would move to an app-only format, he said.
It's not surprising that this is happening -- it's just surprising that it's happening so soon. Flipkart already killed its mobile website last month (you get booted to the App Store on iOS or the Google Play store on Android if you try going to Flipkart.com on your phone's browser); and Myntra, the online fashion portal that Flipkart owns, recently announced that it would shut down its website and go app-only from May 1.
There is no data on how many Flipkart transactions happen on the app, but it does sound like a significant chunk to shutter its website completely. According to ET, Flipkart has more than 40 million registered users who buy over 20 million products on the platform from 30,000 merchants.
Two-thirds of Flipkart's 8 million shipments each month come from small towns and cities, where mobile penetration is light years ahead of desktop penetration, so this move does make sense. It also falls in line with mobile usage trends around the world. A report by Analytics firm Flurry published last year also revealed that users spend only 22 minutes a day in their phone's browser -- the rest is spent in apps.
Flipkart's move ties in to the global debate about open and closed systems on the internet that's happening right now and raises some big questions about how this move will affect the company's ranking in Google search on the desktop.
Seriously, Flipkart, would it kill you to just have the desktop site up and running, if only for those of us hooked to window shopping on our office PCs during lunch hour?