Flipkart Ready For Fireworks


For Flipkart and indeed other marketplaces, the festive season sales are as critical as it gets.

Come the festive season, most Indians are getting their house in order, sprucing up nooks and crannies and generally taking stock of what more needs to be done. For many of India’s ecommerce giants, including flipkart, the pre-festive season routine is much the same.

Reports this week indicated that Flipkart is streamlining two key parts of its ecommerce empire and bringing them into the core business ahead of the festive sales. The Walmart-owned marketplace is said to have integrated the technology and product teams for Cleartrip (travel) and Flipkart Health+ (epharmacy biz) into the core Flipkart platform.

But that’s not the only new thing at Flipkart in recent times. The company has ventured into lending as well as fashion ecommerce, where it ironically competes with PhonePe and Myntra. It has also entered other verticals since 2022 to become the everything platform or a consumer super app. Will it pay off in the 2023 festive season?

Before we dive into that, here are the top stories from our newsroom this week:

  • Chaos At BYJU’S: Days after naming a new India CEO, the edtech giant laid off more than 4,000 employees. The situation is going from bad to worse at BYJU’S
  • Q3 Blues: With just $1.7 Bn raised by Indian startups between July and September 2023, the funding winter is far from over. As our Q3 2023 report shows, capital inflow has seen a 43% YoY decline
  • Gaming GST D-Day: With the 28% GST on real money gaming operations kicking in today, here’s everything you need to know about how it impacts the gaming ecosystem

Is Flipkart A Super App?

When Flipkart acquired Cleartrip in April 2021 and SastaSundar in November 2021, it was a pretty big signal that the company was looking to go all out in the digital commerce space, targeting key growth categories.

The new tight and linear structure is the latest move by Flipkart to restructure its business, where we have seen plenty of developments since December 2022, when PhonePe was hived off as a separate business by majority shareholder Walmart.

Even though Flipkart’s grocery business did not manage to make a dent in the quick commerce and hyperlocal space, these two acquisitions allowed it to compete with Amazon more directly. The addition of travel and epharmacy has made Flipkart a well-rounded marketplace that touches key parts of the digital commerce value chain.


Veterans Take The Lead

In line with the integration of the Cleartrip and Health+, the marketplace has handed over business responsibilities to Flipkart veterans in recent months.

For instance, Ayyappan R, who has been with Flipkart since 2013, was appointed as CEO of Cleartrip in October 2021.

Flipkart’s epharmacy business also saw a leadership switch. Healthcare industry veteran Prashant Jhaveri was replaced as CEO of Flipkart Health+ by Kanchan Mishra, who earlier led the FMCG, home and general merchandise business for Flipkart. Mishra has been with the company since 2014.

Responsibilities are being handed over to those who are more familiar with the core Flipkart operations. It’s indeed an interesting gambit, and it shows trust in talent that has been at the company for a long time.

The same could be said about other categories. Flipkart forayed into at-home services in May 2022, which has six-year Flipkart veteran Amit Chopra at the helm. The service will compete with the likes of Urban Company, and will potentially be complemented by the company’s after-sales services play.

Flipkart’s Fintech Flavour

Perhaps most importantly, Flipkart is earmarking around $15 Mn–$20 Mn for an in-house lending marketplace. This marketplace is said to be coming later this year as a separate entity.

Flipkart is building an underwriting model in-house to ease the risk assessment process before loan disbursals. Like most of its rivals, the company will provide personal loans of up to INR 5 Lakh for consumers.

The ecommerce giant will leverage the combined user base of Flipkart and Myntra to reach an audience of close to 300 Mn, and shopping data and behaviour will be a key data differentiator for Flipkart in competing against the likes of Navi, Moneyview, CRED, Capital Float, Kissht, Paytm and others in the consumer loans space.

The company has partnered with Coverfox for insurance as well. Inc42 has seen listings on the Flipkart app related to insurance plans. At the moment, the company is offering health and auto insurance products.

But running a fintech marketplace for lending or insurance requires a totally different skill set and again, Flipkart is running very close to PhonePe in many of these aspects. It remains to be seen how deep Flipkart takes its fintech play. Flipkart is likely to get more insights into customer spending and demographic data from these fintech services.

“Lending will obviously work in a credit-hungry market like India, but the insurance marketplace is not exactly something new, so Flipkart will have to plan for more than just the commission revenue,” the founder of Delhi NCR-based consumer lending tech startup told us this week.

Festive Season Boost

For Flipkart and indeed other marketplaces, the festive season sales are as critical as it gets. The sales see aggressive competition — Amazon brought forward the dates of the Great Indian Festival to match Flipkart’s sale dates.

Meesho’s festive sale will start on October 6, two days before Flipkart or Amazon. Snapdeal has launched a week-long sale from October 8 too. There’s little doubt that JioMart and Tata CLiQ will also follow suit.

So it’s unsurprising that Flipkart has decided to push the accelerator on the revenue front for travel and epharmacy and put it within the central architecture.

Last year’s festive sales saw lukewarm outcomes with slower-than-expected sales for high-volume products. While GMV for the first week of the sales last year touched $5.7 Bn, the average user spend did not grow at all compared to 2021.

In the context of the festive season sales, we can see why Flipkart has made the move to bring travel and epharmacy into the main platform. “This should not only reduce costs at a group level thanks to a unified backend infrastructure, but it also represents a bet to extract higher revenue from the most active users. Even Amazon is looking at it very holistically,” according to a KPMG analyst who consults with Flipkart’s rival Amazon for the sellers’ business.

A higher average user spend will be more beneficial for Flipkart in terms of profitability. In a bid to clamp down on piling losses and heavy cash burn, the ecommerce giant has turned down salary hikes to 4,500 senior executives and scaled down its quick commerce vertical Flipkart Quick, to focus just on fresh produce.

Besides, the company is also said to be reviewing all group-level costs amid the ongoing market volatility and adverse macroeconomic conditions. All this is being done in the hopes of an IPO sometime in 2024 or 2025, but for now, Flipkart’s hopes for 2023 hinge squarely on the next couple of weeks.

Tech Spotlight: O NDC’s Fintech Push

After food, grocery and fashion, the government-backed Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is all set to disrupt the fintech sector. As we reported exclusively, the network is a few weeks away from launching an array of financial services, including personal and SMB loans, insurance, mutual fund investments and more.

Sources say ONDC has brought various players in the BFSI domain on-board since August, including lenders for personal and business loans and MF Utilities India for mutual fund investments.

Read more in our exclusive story

Sunday Roundup: Tech Stocks, Startup Funding and More 


  • Funding Galore: Following a brief dip in the previous week, September concluded notably stronger, with $194 Mn raised across 34 funding deals. Will Q4 see a recovery in funding deals and value?
  • Yatra Makes Lacklustre Debut: Travel tech platform made its public debut this past week, but it opened at a 10% discount on the bourses, before finishing the week at INR 136.90 per share
  • Streaming Battle: OTT players in India are offering free streaming for major sporting events, but will the reliance on ad revenue bite their businesses in the long run?

  • Zerodha’s Profit Surge: FY23 net profit shot up by nearly 40% to INR 2,907 Cr but cofounder Nithin Kamath believes FY24 will show slower growth

That’s all we have for you this week. Stay tuned to Inc42’s Instagram, X/Twitter and LinkedIn channels for the latest news from the Indian startup ecosystem as it happens.

Till next Sunday,

Nikhil Subramaniam


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