Convenience has become the catchphrase of the hour. People have shifted to using credit and debit cards from carrying bundles of currency. Travel by air is the preferred route to otherwise lengthy trips undertaken on trains and even slower means of transport. And people are increasingly turning online for shopping from going to brick and mortar stores. Ecommerce has become one of the leading industries and the way of the future for India.
It all began in 1995 when India welcomed internet and the slew of job directories, matrimonial site, B2B portals and the fledglings of online shopping in the form of markets on Rediff and Indiatimes. Those were the days of noisy dial up connections and slow speeds. Internet had penetrated only in the cities and that too in limited pockets. Without a revenue model or adequate logistics, the people were not willing to place trust in these online shopping sites.
While many e-tailers failed during the IT slump in 2000, around 2005, low cost e-ticketing carriers opened up the ecommerce industry. Sceptics slowly began to pay confidently via credit cards on online transactions owing to the convenience of ticketing sans the long queues. Around 2007, ecommerce became the favourite start-up word and Flipkart, Infibeam, Snapdeal and others dived into the scene with deals and offers to grab customer attention and generate revenue in a fairly new and untested Indian market.
Over the years, ecommerce picked up at an incredible pace, thanks to internet penetration, better speed and connectivity, marketing, awareness and more. With plenty of the younger working population resorting to shopping online due to factors of convenience, time limitations and range & choices of products offered, the field is all set to take more rapid strides. In fact, a recent Assocham survey declared that the Indian e-commerce industry has grown to $16 billion in 2013 with a growth rate of 88% from the $8.5 billion in the previous year and is poised to expand to touch USD 34.2 billion by 2015.
Online travel industry contributes 76% of the total net commerce while shopping online takes a 16% chunk of the total. Shopping for books is the next popular category with even a book a minute being sold on certain sites. Cameras, computers, home and kitchen appliances, electronic gadgets, flowers, toys are other leading products being sold in great numbers. According to a study conducted by research firm Juxt, India has over 140 million internet users. This staggering population has helped the ecommerce market in India to a 34% y-0-y growth since 2009 according to a research report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The IAMAI and the IMRB International have also projected this thriving e-commerce market to reach 629.67 billion USD by the end of 2013 from its current value at 473.49 billion USD (as of December 2012).
With increased computer literacy over the years, “going online” has become a trend in vogue when it comes to ticketing and shopping, especially. Mobile devices have made this process more convenient and mobile apps, better logistics, social media promotions and feedback from customers are helping the industry expand itself. Technological advances are further breaking barriers and truly the industry expands as much as the innovation does making the road ahead for ecommerce sound both promising and exciting.