BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s Flipkart said on Tuesday it plans to offer 90-minute deliveries for groceries and home accessories, as the Walmart-owned <WMT.N> online retailer goes head to head with Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> in a key growth market for e-commerce.
Flipkart said its hyperlocal service, dubbed Flipkart Quick, will also sell mobile phones and stationery items, taking it a step further than Amazon’s quick-delivery service that mainly offers just groceries.
Flipkart Quick will debut in select locations in Bengaluru, the company said, without specifying a launch date.
Besides Amazon, Bengaluru-based Flipkart will also go up against Alibaba-backed <BABA.N> e-commerce firm BigBasket and grocery delivery upstart JioMart, backed by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani.
The grocery category as well as small grocers – mom-and-pop stores considered the backbone of the economy – have become the next battleground for India’s e-commerce firms, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has spurred more Indians to shop online.
“Halfway through the year of the pandemic, supply chains have transformed drastically,” Flipkart said in a statement. “The hyperlocal category, known for being a convenience for many, has now emerged to be a long-term essential service for the country.”
Ambani’s Jio Platforms is expected to roll out an online service for Indian grocers and small businesses, while Amazon is adding small Indian shops as sellers on its platform to provide them broader online exposure.
Flipkart, which is raising $1.2 billion in Walmart-led funding, recently acquired Walmart’s local cash-and-carry business to strengthen its wholesale offerings to mom-and-pop-stores.
Google-backed Dunzo and Naspers-backed <NPNJn.J> Swiggy – firms much smaller than Amazon or Flipkart – also offer hyperlocal deliveries in India, including for groceries.
(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Bernard Orr)