April 30 2024

E-commerce boom in India: current trends and prospecs

E-commerce has emerged as a transformative force in India's digital landscape, fuelled by increasing internet penetration, rising smartphone usage, affordable data prices, increasing purchasing power, and more. This article explores the current trends, opportunities, challenges, investment potential, and prospects of e-commerce in India, highlighting its impact on businesses, consumers, and the traditional retail sector.

Current and Emerging Trends

Internet penetration in India has reached new heights, with over 918 Mn subscribers as of September 2023. Notably, the rural internet subscriber base is growing rapidly, currently standing at 375.66 Mn subscribers, indicating the democratization of online access. Close to 100% of pin codes in India have seen e-commerce adoption. As per the study titled E-Commerce Logistics: Unveiling Data Driven Shopping Patterns by ISB Institute of Data Science and Ecom Express, Tier-2, Tier-3, Tier-4 cities, and beyond account for the largest volume of online orders, marking a significant shift in consumer behaviour, underlining the ease in shopping, availability of choices, and efficient supply chain infrastructure. The first-of-a-kind study revealed that one of the most prominent growth hotspots is Port Blair. The fashion and accessories category dominates the e-commerce market, representing 60% of transactions by volume, followed by beauty, cosmetics and toiletries (11%); electronic gadgets (10%); home, kitchen & office (8%); and health, sports and fitness (5%). The Government e-Marketplace (GeM) has played a pivotal role in facilitating government procurement, crossing an impressive INR 4 Lakh Cr in Gross Merchandise Value and doubling its business in a year. Moreover, the Online Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) has democratized e-commerce by creating an open and inclusive network where buyers and sellers can connect directly, thus empowering small businesses, especially in rural areas. In two years of its launch, ONDC has onboarded over 2.3 Lakh diverse sellers and service providers, including 3000 Farmer Producer Organisations, 400+ Self-Help Groups, micro, small, and medium enterprises, and large enterprises.

Opportunities and Benefits of E-commerce

The exponential growth of India's internet economy, projected to reach $1 Tn by 2030, presents vast opportunities for businesses and consumers alike. E-commerce is at the forefront of this growth, with projections indicating a market size of $325 Bn by 2030. For businesses, e-commerce provides a gateway to reach a broader consumer base, utilize cost-effective marketing channels, and explore opportunities for expansion in various categories and geographical regions. For consumers, e-commerce brings unparalleled convenience and accessibility. With a few clicks, consumers can compare prices, browse a diverse range of products, and purchase from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, e-commerce platforms often offer competitive pricing, discounts, and deals, enabling consumers to save money on their purchases. Moreover, personalized recommendations and tailored shopping experiences enhance customer satisfaction, fostering long-term loyalty and engagement.

However, to propel the e-commerce sector's growth further, it needs to overcome logistical barriers, cybersecurity threats, and regulatory intricacies. Similarly, initiatives to enhance digital literacy and consumer awareness can also build trust and confidence in online transactions.

E-commerce Impacting Traditional Retail

E-commerce's ability to reach customers beyond geographical boundaries is also prompting traditional retailers to innovate and adapt. Some are integrating online channels into their business models, leveraging omnichannel strategies to enhance customer experience and remain competitive. Others are focusing on providing unique in-store experiences and personalized services to differentiate themselves from their e-commerce counterparts. Overall, while e-commerce presents challenges to traditional retail, it also drives innovation and evolution within the sector.

Prospects and Predictions

The future of e-commerce in India is promising, with projections indicating annual growth rates of 18% through 2025. By 2030, India is anticipated to emerge as the third-largest consumer market globally, underlining the vast opportunities and potential that lie ahead of the e-commerce sector in the country. The rise of emerging technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning will revolutionize the way consumers interact with e-commerce platforms, leading to more personalized and immersive shopping experiences. Additionally, as the Indian economy continues to grow and consumer spending power increases, coupled with the facilitation of 100% FDI in B2B e-commerce and marketplace, India's e-commerce ecosystem is poised for sustained growth and innovation.

Conclusion

E-commerce in India is not just a marketplace; it's a catalyst for economic growth, innovation, and inclusivity. Several factors are propelling the growth of e-commerce in India. Firstly, the rapid expansion of internet connectivity, especially in rural areas, is broadening the potential customer base. Additionally, the proliferation of smartphones and affordable data plans has facilitated easy access to online shopping platforms. The increasing digitization of payments through platforms like UPI (Unified Payments Interface) has simplified transactions, fostering trust and convenience among users. Moreover, the emergence of e-commerce marketplaces offering a wide range of products at competitive prices and regular sales has attracted consumers from diverse demographics. By addressing challenges, fostering innovation, and embracing opportunities, India can harness the full potential of e-commerce to drive prosperity and empowerment across the nation.

Source: investindia.gov.in