Amazon has been doubling down on its investments in India and Jeff Bezos has made some very exciting announcements on his trip to the country. However, the biggest of them might just be now. During the final leg of his tour, Bezos announced that Amazon will be teaming up with tens of thousands of kirana shops (mom and pop stores) across the country.
The announcement holds a lot of significance. These small mom and pop stores make up for a fair amount of all retail shopping done in the country. India is a country that is set in its way, with a motto, “Don’t change something that ain’t broken”. Since kirana stores still make up for a more than decent amount of retail in the country, Amazon has decided to embrace what it cannot fight. E-commerce, despite being well over $25 billion in value according to recent estimates, is still just around 3% of India’s overall retail market. Smart move from Amazon, and one which may finally go down well with a government that is fighting perhaps country’s most vicious economic slowdown.
Jeff Bezos tweeted “It’s good for customers, and it helps the shop owners earn additional income,” completing his 4th trip to the country so far. The program has been named ‘I have Space ‘ program and has enrolled about 20,000 kirana stores nationwide.
This partnership can bear fruitful for Amazon, as these kirana stores are widespread and thus can provide speed that no other mode of retail can match. Moreover, with Mukesh Ambani launching JioMart , Amazon needs to get its prep on if it wants to maintain its lead in the Indian market.
Amazon has also partnered up with India’s second biggest retailer, Future Retail, in its forthcoming war with the business genius Ambani, and will get more into offline retail as well, as a large chunk of retail in India still happens on the streets.
This isn’t the only major announcement that Jeff has made on his trip to the country. He also announced that Amazon will be shipping $10 billion worth of India made product by 2025, and that the company will pour as much as $1 billion in an initiative to promote the ‘Make in India’ campaign started by the Indian government.
He also announced that India has become Prime Video’s biggest market, with the platform doing better nowhere than it is doing in India. He said that the company will be doubling its budget for Prime Video’s Indian content, and will be bringing forth a lot of new shows and movies.
His announcements though haven’t been met with much optimism from the government’s end. Interestingly, Bezos as also unable to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a move that is being largely considered intentional and political. Thousands of Indian traders, including amazon sellers, have been out on the streets protesting Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart’s predatory pricing mechanisms. To top it, India’s competitive watchdog is already looking into complaints against both ecommerce players over anti-competitive practices.