According to a report by daily Mint, Reliance backed Jiomart may be embedded into WhatsApp in six months’ time to allow consumers to order on the popular messaging app itself. The Mint report cited two officials aware of the development.
Reliance, which has been trying to move away from its mainstay oil and energy business, had last year raised about $26 billion from investors like Google and Facebook for its digital and retail arms as it takes on Amazon.com Inc and Walmart-backed Flipkart in India, as per a report by Reuters.
WhatsApp has approximately 400 million users in India. Facebook invested $5.7 billion for a 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms last year.
According to Thomas Brereton, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, ultra-convenience food delivery opportunities are booming amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and Reliance is clearly looking to turn fresh demand into revenue, following in the footsteps of similarly expanding operators such as Deliveroo, UberEats, GrubHub and DoorDash, across Europe and the US.
“India offers even more fertile ground for growth than Europe or North America. In 2019, only 0.8 percent of India’s $551.8bn grocery market was operated online – well below more mature markets such as the US (4.8 percent) or the UK (8.2 percent). Now, largely due to the impact of coronavirus, 35.9 percent of Indians are buying food & grocery products online more frequently – second only to China (56.0 percent) out of the countries surveyed,” Brereton stated.
“In order to compete with the more established players in the region, such as Flipkart (predominantly owned by Walmart) and Amazon, Jiomart will be looking to leverage its backing from Facebook (which owns 10 percent of digital unit Jio Platforms), particularly in order to connect customers with smaller retailers via WhatsApp (highly popular in India, with c.400m users),” he concluded.