Date
23 October 2018
Amazon is committed to large-scale investments in India to achieve its business goals in the country, says Amit Agarwal, the head of Amazon India. Photo: Reuters
Amazon is committed to large-scale investments in India to achieve its business goals in the country, says Amit Agarwal, the head of Amazon India. Photo: Reuters

Amazon expects groceries to make up large part of India sales

Amazon.com expects groceries and household products to account for more than half of its business in India in the next five years, a top executive said.

Amit Agarwal, the India head of Amazon, told Reuters that groceries and goods such as creams, soaps and cleaning products, were already the largest product category on Amazon in terms of number of units sold in India.

“I would not speculate on when we would launch AmazonFresh but, absolutely, if you ask me the next five years of vision – from your avocados to your potatoes, and your meat to your ice cream – we’ll deliver everything to you in two hours,” Agarwal said in an interview.

AmazonFresh, which launched more than a decade ago in the US market, is the company’s flagship fresh grocery delivery service.

In India, Amazon currently offers some groceries via a service named Pantry. It has also tied up with local vendors in four cities for Amazon Now, which promises two-hour deliveries.

“Probably in the next five years groceries and consumables would be more than half of our business,” Agarwal told Reuters.

Amazon, he said, has already started experimenting with a few fresh groceries in India, already home to its largest active customer base outside of the United States.

India’s e-commerce market is tipped to grow to US$200 billion in a decade, according to a Morgan Stanley estimate.

Amazon, which already has over 100 million registered users in India, is looking to cash-in on the opportunity.

“We want to get the next hundred million customers shopping with us,” said Agarwal, adding that Amazon plans to woo new clients with product exchange and staggered payment offerings.

Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos told shareholders in a letter last week that Amazon India is the fastest growing marketplace in the country.

He said Amazon added more members to its Prime loyalty program in India in its first year, than any previous geography in Amazon’s history.

Still profitability in India is years away for Amazon, admits Agarwal, as logistics, payments and other infrastructure needed to address the long-term opportunity are still being built.

He said the US$5 billion Bezos had committed to investing in India was just a signal of intent, and that the company was ready to invest significantly more to achieve its goals.

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RC

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