E-commerce has transformed the way business is done in India. The Indian E-commerce market is expected to grow to US$ 200 billion by 2026 from US$ 38.5 billion as of 2017. Much of the growth for the industry has been triggered by an increase in internet and smartphone penetration. As of August 2020, the number of internet connections in India significantly increased to ~760 million, driven by the ‘Digital India’ programme. Out of the total internet connections, ~61% connections were in urban areas, of which 97% connections were wireless.
Propelled by rising smartphone penetration, launch of 4G network and increasing consumer wealth, the Indian E-commerce market is expected to grow to US$ 200 billion by 2026 from US$ 38.5 billion in 2017. Online retail sales in India is expected to grow 31% to touch US$ 32.70 billion in 2018, led by Flipkart, Amazon India and Paytm Mall.
Smartphone shipments in India increased by~8% y-o-y to reach 50.0 million units in the first quarter of 2020, driven by positive shipments of all smartphone vendors in the market. Samsung led the Indian smartphone market with 24% shipping share, followed by Xiaomi at 23%.
Some of the major developments in the Indian e-commerce sector are as follows:
- On October 23, 2020, Flipkart acquired a 7.8% stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, a subsidiary of the Aditya Birla Group, for Rs. 1,500 crore (US$ 203.8 million).
- Flipkart partnered with PayTM for its annual Big Billion Days Sale event in October 2020, offering customers the convenience of making payments directly through the latter's application with the bonus of receiving PayTM cashbacks over and above Flipkart discounts.
- Infibeam Avenues signed a contract with Oman’s second-largest bank, the Bank of Muscat, to process the bank’s online card transactions of various payment networks through its digital payment solution—CCAvenue Payment Gateway Service in November 2020.
- In November 2020, Amazon India announced collaboration with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited. Under this partnership, customers will be able to book and pay for their LPG cylinders until the delivery.
- In November 2020, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd. (RRVL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries (RIL), acquired a minority stake of Urban Ladder Home Decor Solutions Pvt. Ltd. for Rs. 182.12 crore (US$ 24.67 million).
- In November 2020, Flipkart acquired Scapic, an Augmented Reality (AR) firm, to boost user experience.
- In November 2020, Amazon India has opened 'Made in India' toy store, in line with the government's ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ vision. The store will allow thousands of manufacturers and vendors to sell toys driven by the Indian culture, folk tales and toys that promote creative thinking and are locally crafted & manufactured.
- In October 2020, Amazon India collaborated with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to enable users to book and reserve train tickets on Amazon.
- In October 2020, Flipkart acquired a 140-acre land at Rs. 432 crore (US$ 58.87 million) to establish their largest fulfilling centre in Asia, in Manesar, Gurgaon, in a bid to scale their fulfilment infrastructure to cater to increased demand post COVID-19.
- In October 2020, Amazon India invested over Rs. 700 crore (US$ 95.40 million) into its payment unit, Amazon Pay.
Since 2014, the Government of India has announced various initiatives, namely Digital India, Make in India, Start-up India, Skill India and Innovation Fund. The timely and effective implementation of such programs will likely support growth of E-commerce in the country. Some of the major initiatives taken by the Government to promote E-commerce in India are as follows:
- In a bid to systematise the onboarding process of retailers on e-commerce platforms, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is reportedly planning to utilise the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to set protocols for cataloguing, vendor discovery and price discovery. The department aims to provide equal opportunities to all marketplace players to make optimum use of the e-commerce ecosystem in the larger interest of the country and its citizen.
- National Retail Policy: The government had identified five areas in its proposed national retail policy—ease of doing business, rationalisation of the licence process, digitisation of retail, focus on reforms and an open network for digital commerce—stating that offline retail and e-commerce need to be administered in an integral manner.
- The Consumer Protection (e-commerce) Rules 2020 notified by the Consumer Affairs Ministry in July directed e-commerce companies to display the country of origin alongside the product listings. In addition, the companies will also have to reveal parameters that go behind determining product listings on their platforms.
- Government e-Marketplace (GeM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Union Bank of India to facilitate a cashless, paperless and transparent payment system for an array of services in October 2019.
- Under the Digital India movement, Government launched various initiatives like Umang, Start-up India Portal, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) etc. to boost digitisation.
- In October 2020, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Piyush Goyal invited start-ups to register at public procurement portal, GeM, and offer goods and services to government organisations and PSUs.
- In October 2020, amending the equalisation levy rules of 2016, the government mandated foreign companies operating e-commerce platforms in India to have permanent account numbers (PAN). It imposed a 2% tax in the FY21 budget on the sale of goods or delivery of services through a non-resident ecommerce operator.
- In order to increase the participation of foreign players in E-commerce, Indian Government hiked the limit of FDI in E-commerce marketplace model to up to 100% (in B2B models).
- Heavy investment made by the Government in rolling out fiber network for 5G will help boost E-commerce in India.
The E-commerce industry has been directly impacting micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME) in India by providing means of financing, technology and training and has a favourable cascading effect on other industries as well. Indian E-commerce industry has been on an upward growth trajectory and is expected to surpass the US to become the second largest E-commerce market in the world by 2034. Technology enabled innovations like digital payments, hyper-local logistics, analytics driven customer engagement and digital advertisements will likely support the growth in the sector. The growth in E-commerce sector will also boost employment, increase revenues from export, increase tax collection by ex-chequers, and provide better products and services to customers in the long-term. Rise in smartphone usage is expected to rise 84% to reach 859 million by 2022.
E-retail market is expected to continue its strong growth - it registered a CAGR of over 35% to reach Rs. 1.8 trillion (US$ 25.75 billion) in FY20. Over the next five years, the Indian e-retail industry is projected to exceed ~300-350 million shoppers, propelling the online Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) to US$ 100-120 billion by 2025.
Note: Conversion rate used in December 2020, Rs. 1 = US$ 0.01357
References: Media Reports, Press releases, Union Budget 2019-20, Business Standard, Economic Times, LiveMint, Times Now, Times of India
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.