Flipkart, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms of India, has announced that its grocery delivery services are now live for over 50 new cities across India. The services are now available for seven new metropolitan cities including Kolkata, Pune and Ahmedabad, as well as over 40 neighbouring cities that fall in the tier 2 categories and beyond. After starting the Flipkart groceries marketplace last year buoyed by a demand for it due to Covid-19-led nationwide lockdowns, Flipkart hopes to rival fellow e-commerce giant Amazon, which already has a strong footing in the e-grocery delivery retail space in India.
Flipkart is clearly betting significantly on the demand for online grocery delivery services, and stated in a media release that it hopes to reach over 70 cities in India within the next six months, after this recent rollout. Metro hubs such as Kolkata, Pune and Ahmedabad will get dedicated Flipkart grocery fulfilment centres, and employ and satellite or small subsidiary-based marketplace expansion model in other smaller cities, which include Mysore, Kanpur, Warangal, Allahabad, Aligarh, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Rajkot, Vadodara, Vellore, Tirupati and Daman.
“Grocery continues to be one of the fastest-growing categories, with the increase in demand for quality food and household supplies from users. In line with this, we have invested in scaling up our grocery operations across the country, strengthening ecosystem partnerships. We have witnessed increased demand for groceries from tier 2 cities in the past year, fuelled by customers increasing preference for contactless shopping, from the comforts of their home. It is a trend that we think will continue and will set the course of e-grocery space in India,” said Manish Kumar, senior VP of groceries, general merchandise and furniture at Flipkart.
Flipkart claims that since introduction, its grocery demands have seen 3x growth. However, at what exact scale does that compare to an established model such as Amazon’s grocery services remain to be seen, since Flipkart’s growth statistic accounts from nil. Flipkart claims that it is also working with “many” farmers and farmer produce organisations to offer grocery producers access to a direct agri-supply chain – thereby easing the way they can sell their produce. It also has a 90-minute grocery delivery service under Flipkart Quick, that is right now available only in Bengaluru. This trial model may be further expanded to metro cities in the near future, if demand for it sustains in a cost-efficient model.