The Indian E-commerce scene has exploded in recent times, with many different segments being created by niche players, with the most nascent being Foodtech. India has come a long way with respect to e-commerce and the evolution has been really rapid, befitting the world’s fastest growing large economy.
The growth of e-commerce is tremendous in Indian context, considering that traditionally India has been a cash oriented economy with offline retail stores driving purchases by the consumer. Currently, India adds 6 million new consumers* to the e-commerce industry, every month. This scale of growth is unprecedented in any other market and goes to show the potential of the Indian e-commerce market.
The following key drivers of Indian e-commerce are almost unique to India, as some of these points are intrinsic to Indian consumer behavior:
- Convenience & Trust: It took some time for e-commerce players to gain the trust of the consumer and shed the initial belief that products available at some of the largest online marketplaces were used products. This is because for a long time, the Indian e-commerce space was dominated by e-bay which used to sell used products in India, operating in a marketplace environment. However, as prominent players entered the market backed by a solid supply chain and great marketing & communications, the quintessential Indian consumer realized the convenience of e-commerce and developed a trust with the portal.
- Price: A typical Indian buyer is very price conscious and bargains heavily. They are always looking out for deals. This perception is widely regarded as being true. Price has always been the trump card for Indian e-commerce players as most of the products that are available online are cheaper than the same products available offline.
- Payment Options: With the advent of digital wallets and UPI (Unified Payments Interface), the payment options have grown over the years. Earlier on, most e-commerce players grew because of the success of the Cash on Delivery (COD) model, which was rather prevalent in India, due to a large amount of Cash being circulated in the economy. It is only in recent times, due to the demonetization drive, Indians have jumped on to the electronic payments bandwagon.
- Digital India: The government of India’s Digital India initiative has been a key factor in enhancing internet penetration across the country, which has led to a whole host of services being digitally delivered. The invariable result of increase in internet penetration has been the fact that apart from accessing essential services digitally, the consumer has taken to online shopping and online payments, big time.
- Domestic Consumption: Any world renowned economist will tell you that the India growth story has been driven by domestic demand and the high consumption of the ever aspirational Indian consumer. The obvious macroeconomic scenario had to play out in the e-commerce space as well.
- Language: Most e-commerce portals in India are in English and that has played a big role in the growth of the industry, as India has the largest English speaking middle class population. Moreover, the regional language versions of popular sites have nonetheless played a critical role in the growth of large scale e-commerce portals.
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*Data Source: Wikipedia