As e-commerce players battle it out for buyers' attention, Amazon India has caught up with Flipkart and overtaken Snapdeal in terms of monthly unique visitors in May.
According to data from Internet analytics firm comScoreData, Amazon India had 23.6 million unique visitors in May, edging past Flipkart narrowly.
While Flipkart saw 23.5 million unique visitors, Snapdeal had 17.9 million in May this year. An annual comparison shows that Amazon has seen a whopping 142 per cent jump in the number of unique visitors since May 2014 while for Flipkart, it's surged nearly 80 percent. For the same period, Snapdeal saw a 90 per cent rise in unique visitors, the data revealed.
In May 2014, Flipkart was leading by a mile, with more than 13 million unique visitors while both Amazon and Snapdeal were in a tight race with close to 10 million unique visitors to their sites.
Amazon India declined to comment though it said the repeat rate of customers was "healthy".
Industry experts caution that unique visitors are just another metric for e-commerce companies, and the 'loyalty and stickiness' of customers are a more reliable measure to go by.
"While unique visitors is a metric to show the growing interest in e-commerce, a better metric to speak about a company's performance would be the number of repeat customers an online retailer gets," said Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail consultancy Technopak.
For a customer, online retail offers price comparison and available options by 'just a click', he said, and the market is still nascent to speak about customer loyalty, which is a significant aspect of offline retail.
Indian e-commerce companies often quote gross merchandise value (GMV) to indicate the total sales value reflecting the volume of their business. Currently, Flipkart, the country's highest valued e-commerce company, has said it expects its GMV to touch Rs 76,000 crore in a year. Snapdeal is also reported to be targeting GMV sales of USD 10 billion (about Rs 63,000 crore) by the end of calendar year.
However, experts have questioned this metric, saying that it does not reveal the true picture. "I am willing to go on record that GMV is a bullshit norm," said Mahesh Murthy, Managing Partner, Seed Fund.
Amazon reports net sales. Amazon India sells over 2.5 crore items on its online marketplace, and crossed $1 billion in sales in September last year.