India’s Mobile Payments Embrace Lays Fertile Ground for Walmart, Amazon eCommerce Ambitions

The jousting between Amazon and Walmart for eyeballs browsing market places, and share of digital wallet for consumer spending, is finding an evolving battleground in India. 

Recent comments on earnings calls and announcements from the two commerce behemoths point directly towards the appeal of this market, where merchants and consumers are using digital means to find one another, seal the deal – and pay, of course. 

As reported in the recent PYMNTS report2023 Global Digital Shopping Index: India Edition,” India accounts for 46% of the world’s real-time payments, and logs more digital transactions than any other nation. 

Moreover, a 55% share of consumers in India paid for their most recent digital retail purchase with unified payments interface (UPI). PYMNTS’ research also found that 55% of Indian consumers used a digital wallet to pay for their latest retail purchase. 

The chart below details the preferred digital wallets wielded at the online and brick-and-mortar checkouts.

The enthusiastic digital embrace comes as millennial, bridge millennial and Generation Z shoppers have been the country’s early adopters of these digital-first shopping experiences. PYMNTS data show that these younger, connected shoppers use 17 digital shopping and payment features, on average, compared to the averages of 15 in the U.S. and 12 in the U.K.  

We can see from the chart that PhonePe has a roughly 19% share, and Amazon Pay has about 11% share.  

Ecosystems Take Shape  

“In India, Flipkart’s eCommerce platform continues to scale, growing first-time eCommerce customers and expanding its reach in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities,” Walmart CFO John Rainey said in the retail giants’ latest results. “Flipkart’s eKart business now includes more than 35,000 Kirana (neighborhood groceries) partners, as well as providing fulfillment services for Flipkart sellers and other third parties.”

Elsewhere, management noted that India remains a prime example of the ability of building out an ecosystem, pointing out the example of selling travel tickets across the company’s platform, and specifically across Flipkart, the platform recently bought out by Walmart. 

During the call, Judith McKenna, CEO of Walmart International, said that “both Flipkart and PhonePe continue to impress us and meet our expectations.”

PhonePe, she noted, has passed the $1 trillion TPV mark, and she said later in the call that  “Flipkart and PhonePe are becoming a mutually reinforcing flywheel of strength for that market.” 

As we reported in June, Amazon intends to invest $26 billion in India by 2030. Those efforts will  follow earlier announcements that Amazon Web Services was investing $12.9 billion, with a $6.5 billion investment earmarked for its Indian eCommerce business.  

The sizable commitment from Amazon follows a May report that Walmart leads Amazon in eCommerce sales in India due to Flipkart, with roughly half of the market there. In contrast, Amazon has approximately 26% of the market.

eCommerce sales in India are projected to reach $135 billion by 2025, triple the amount from 2020, per research from Wall Street sell-side firm Bernstein.