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In November 2020, Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp announced its acquisition of Indian start-up DealShare. The move was aimed at expanding WhatsApp’s presence in India’s burgeoning e-commerce market, which is expected to reach $200 billion by 2026. With over 400 million users in India, WhatsApp has been exploring ways to monetize its platform and tap into the country’s growing digital economy. In this article, we will explore the significance of the DealShare acquisition and its potential impact on WhatsApp’s e-commerce ambitions in India.

DealShare: A Brief Overview

Founded in 2018, DealShare is a social commerce platform that offers discounts and deals on a range of products, including groceries, household items, and electronics. The platform operates on a group buying model, where users can invite their friends and family to join a group and avail of discounts on bulk purchases. DealShare currently operates in 25 cities across India and has over 10 million registered users.

WhatsApp’s E-commerce Ambitions

WhatsApp has been exploring ways to leverage its massive user base in India to enter the e-commerce market. In 2018, the company launched WhatsApp Business, a separate app aimed at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to communicate with their customers. The app allows businesses to create a profile, send automated messages, and showcase their products and services. In 2019, WhatsApp also launched a pilot program for its payment service in India, which allows users to send and receive money through the app.

However, WhatsApp’s e-commerce ambitions have been hampered by regulatory hurdles and privacy concerns. The company has faced criticism from the Indian government over its data-sharing policies and has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Reserve Bank of India over its payment service. The DealShare acquisition is seen as a strategic move by WhatsApp to overcome these challenges and establish itself as a major player in India’s e-commerce market.

DealShare’s Value Proposition

DealShare’s group buying model is well-suited to India’s price-sensitive market, where consumers are always on the lookout for discounts and deals. The platform offers a range of products at competitive prices and leverages social media to drive engagement and referrals. DealShare’s focus on Tier II and III cities, where e-commerce penetration is still low, also gives WhatsApp access to a new customer base and helps it expand beyond its urban stronghold.

Integration with WhatsApp

The DealShare acquisition is expected to lead to tighter integration between the two platforms, with DealShare’s deals and discounts being made available on WhatsApp. This will allow WhatsApp to monetize its platform by taking a commission on sales generated through the app. The integration will also make it easier for SMBs to reach customers on WhatsApp and offer them deals and promotions.

However, the integration also raises concerns over data privacy and security. WhatsApp has faced criticism over its data-sharing policies, and the integration with DealShare could lead to further scrutiny from regulators. The company will need to ensure that user data is protected and that it complies with local regulations.

Competitive Landscape

WhatsApp’s entry into the e-commerce market in India will put it in direct competition with established players like Amazon, Flipkart, and Reliance JioMart. These companies have already made significant investments in building their e-commerce infrastructure and have a strong presence in the market. However, WhatsApp’s massive user base and its integration with Facebook’s advertising platform could give it an edge over its competitors.


The DealShare acquisition is a strategic move by WhatsApp to tap into India’s growing e-commerce market. The platform’s group buying model and focus on Tier II and III cities make it well-suited to India’s price-sensitive market. The integration with WhatsApp will allow the company to monetize its platform and offer SMBs a new way to reach customers. However, the integration also raises concerns over data privacy and security, and WhatsApp will need to ensure that it complies with local regulations. With the e-commerce market in India expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, WhatsApp’s entry into the market is likely to shake up the competitive landscape and offer consumers more choices and better deals.

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