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India’s Myntra Moves to Mobile App-Only

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India’s biggest fashion e-tailer, Myntra, is shutting down its desktop website and moving to a mobile-only platform through its app. The transition will start May 15.

The company, which was acquired last year by fellow e-commerce firm Flipkart for about $300 million and last week celebrated the first anniversary of its mobile app’s debut, discussed the move at a press conference in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

“We are responding to customer demand by transitioning to a ‘mobile app-only’ marketplace. Currently, 95 percent of the internet traffic to our site comes through mobile devices and over 70 percent of sales are via mobile devices,” said Mukesh Bansal, CEO of Myntra and Flipkart’s head of commerce. “We expect this demand to grow further and are ready to give our customers the best fashion experience that is truly personalized, through the device that is closest to them—their mobile phone.”

According to a recent report by KPMG, India was the fastest growing mobile app market in 2014 and downloads are expected to grow six-fold this year. A further study by Mastercard said that smartphone shopping in India grew by more than 100 percent over the past two years, while Informate Mobile Intelligence found that 46 percent of the country’s smartphone owners also use mobile shopping apps, second only to the U.S. Furthermore, Google and A.T. Kearney predict India will have 480 million mobile internet users by 2017.

It’s no surprise, then, that Myntra expects to hit $1 billion in sales by 2016 and turn profitable within a few years. Similar to such fashion e-tailers as ASOS, Myntra sells a mix of merchandise for men and women spanning Scotch & Soda and Replay to Mango and Cole Haan to its own private labels. Ganesh Subramanian, head of new initiatives at Myntra, recently told Reuters that the company’s own lines comprise about 25 percent of the business and predicts that will soon grow to half.

Subramanian also revealed that the company plans to double its 300-strong engineering team over the next few quarters as it invests heavily in technology to offer new innovations such as curated assortments based on purchase history.

As Bansal put it, “Fashion is a very personal experience. We believe that only mobile can truly deliver this experience as it captures users’ lifestyle and context in a manner that no other medium does. Think of all the hardware and software features that one can leverage like camera, contact, location, etc., to understand the user’s context and deliver the experience that is deeply personalized.”

Flipkart, which is targeting $8 billion in revenue by the year’s end, intends to transition to a mobile app-only platform, too.

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