Amazon set to launch ‘special store’ for value fashion in India
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Amazon set to launch ‘special store’ for value fashion in India

Amazon is preparing to make another attempt to break into India’s fast-growing fashion and lifestyle e-commerce sector, setting up a battle with rival Flipkart, owned by Walmart, Reliance’s Ajio and SoftBank-backed upstart Meesho.

The e-commerce giant plans to launch a “special store,” called Bazaar, where it will not levy any “extra charges” to sellers offering unbranded and “trendy” fashion and lifestyle products, according to a communication the firm has sent to its partners.

The items sold through Bazaar will be priced under 600 Indian rupees, or $7.2, the company says in its communication. “Your products will be featured in a special store on Amazon, making them easy for customers to find,” the company wrote in the communication.

Bazaar will offer sellers access to tens of millions of customers, “hassle-free” delivery and levy zero referral fee, Amazon says in the communication. TechCrunch reported earlier this month, citing job recruitment posts, that Amazon was looking to expand its focus on fast fashion.

Indian daily Economic Times reported about Bazaar earlier on Wednesday, adding that Amazon will likely offer two to three days of delivery to the new venture.

The fast-fashion e-commerce space has gained ground in India recently as local startups take inspiration from global fast-fashion pioneers Zara, H&M and Uniqlo. Top player Flipkart leads the category but faces mounting competition from Ambani’s Ajio, which has amassed about 30% market share, according to research firm Bernstein.

Ajio quietly launched Ajio Street last year, offering a vast selection of clothing and accessories, starting from a price point as low as 199 Indian rupees ($2.4). According to Ajio’s website, Street guarantees the “lowest price” for its offerings, waives delivery charges, and promises a straightforward returns process.

Shein, a global pioneer name in the category and which was earlier banned by India, is set for a comeback with a joint venture with Reliance, the two firms said last year.

In a recent note, analysts at Bernstein wrote:

Reliance owned Ajio has been acquiring users and currently holds a ~30% market share based on MAUs, however Myntra continues to hold the highest market share in terms of active users with a 50%+ share. In Dec-23, Myntra exhibited the highest growth rate amongst peers at 25%. A closer look at the business suggests that users on the app are not transacting as much as previous trends, Myntra’s GMV grew only 12% in FY23 as compared to 35% in FY22.

The fashion market is extremely fragmented offline, and the online market is seeing similar trends with multiple players emerging to gain share. In Dec-23, Nykaa Fashion accelerated with a 23% YoY growth rate, its highest growth rate since May-22 due to product tech alterations and a premium product offering. Ajio has sustained its growth rates above the industry average 22% MAU YoY growth in Nov-23. Urbanic, which acquired majority of its users post Shein’s ban due to a similar product offering, was not able to sustain its growth owing to lagging user experience and inefficient return policies.

Bazaar is one of the key new initiatives from Amazon, which has deployed over $7 billion in India, following the firm shutting down three of its businesses — wholesale distribution, food delivery and online learning — in India in late 2022.

The company announced last year that it would invest about $2.3 billion in its e-commerce operations in the country by 2030, a far lower budget than its rival Flipkart. (Amazon is instead doubling down on AWS in India, and plans to deploy $12.7 billion in the cloud business in the country by 2030.)

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