The e-grocery market in India is hotting up.
Close on the heels of news of Reliance Industries likely to take a major stake in Future Group’s retail ventures, the other major player in the market Amazon has announced the expansion of its ‘Amazon Pantry’ to over 300 new cities in India. This would mean the grocery delivery service would now be available in a staggering 10,000 pin codes across the country.
Amazon Pantry expanding its service, at a time when delivery of goods by e-commerce players are still hit due to the various levels of lockdown across the different States of India, shows the confidence of the company and also reflects the demand in the market. Quite understandably, people prefer to remain indoors as the Covid-19 pandemic does not seem like ending. All existing players have reported a major surge in demand.
Among the smaller cities covered in Amazon Pantry’s latest expanison are Allahabad, Amreli, Shimla, Udaipur, Varanasi, Nainital, and Bhopal. Amazon is committing two days of delivery in these cities. But time option for slotted deliveries now available to the consumers in metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Pune is not being extended to these new cities included in the expansion.
The online grocery delivery market has become major attraction for the various companies. Existing players like BigBasket, Grofers, Reliance’s JioMart dominate this field. Of course, some newcomers like Meesho and Cure.Fit have also serious plans. Swiggy has also pivoted into grocery delivery. Flipkart is also eyeing hyperlocal delivery from Bengaluru. And then B2B major Udaan has softly launched the consumer app Pickily.
Amazon shows its aggression
Launched in Hyderabad in September 2016, Amazon Pantry covered around 110 cities till May last year. Amazon claims that it is offering a selection of 3,000 products from over 200 brands.
“Amazon Pantry has become popular with customers as it fulfills their grocery demands and gives them great savings. With this expansion, customers in more than 300 cities & towns can get access to safe doorstep delivery of grocery essentials”, said Saurabh Srivastava, director of category management of Amazon India in a press release.
But just as other companies are shrinking their operations due to the economic slow down, Amazon is getting all aggressive and expanding to newer territories.
Even while Zomato and Swiggy, the two main players in food delivery segment are finding the going tough, Amazon recently announced the official launch of its food delivery business from Bengaluru.
All this are means to a bigger goal
And the company insiders say that Amazon Food would be soon rolled out in other cities.
Amazon Food had also recently forayed into alcohol delivery service from West Bengal.
In general, the unit economics of grocery delivery and food delivery are unforgiving, Amazon won’t be too worried though. For, grocery or food delivery may not be its end point. It may be a means to reach a bigger goal.
A high-frequency business, they will help Amazon Prime and Amazon Pay offerings really take wings in India.
Those are stories waiting to be told another day.