Ecommerce in India5th July 2021 0 By indiafreenotes
India has an Internet user base of about 696.77million as of May 2020, about 40% of the population. Despite being the second-largest user base in world, only behind China (650 million, 48% of population), the penetration of e-commerce is low compared to markets like the United States (266 million, 84%), or France (54 M, 81%), but is growing, adding around 6 million new entrants every month. The industry consensus is that growth is at an inflection point.
In India, cash on delivery is the most preferred payment method, accumulating 75% of the e-retail activities. Demand for international consumer products (including long-tail items) is growing faster than in-country supply from authorised distributors and e-commerce offerings. Long tail business strategy allows companies to realize significant profits by selling low volumes of hard-to-find items to many customers, instead of only selling large volumes of a reduced number of popular items. The term was first coined in 2004 by Chris Anderson.
In 2017, the largest e-commerce companies in India were Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon. In 2018, Amazon beat Flipkart and was recorded the biggest ecommerce in India in terms of revenue.
eCommerce is India’s fastest growing and most exciting channel for commercial transactions. The Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow to US$200 billion by 2026 from US$ 48.5billion as of 2018. This growth has been triggered by increasing internet and smartphone penetration.
Though the sector has witnessed tremendous growth and is expected to grow, many e-commerce ventures have faced tremendous pressure to ensure cash flows. But it has not worked out for all the e-commerce websites. Many of them like Dhingana, IndiaPlaza.in, eBay-India, Rock.in, Seventy MM amongst others had to close down or change their business models to survive. In March 2020, the Government of India restricted online sales of all goods except for critical items including food, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment. Many Indian startups including Urban Company, BookMyShow, Pepperfry and Nykaa, which do not feature in the government’s list of notified essential services, are running at a loss due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- Examples of venture capital firms having invested in e-commerce companies in India are as follows: Flipkart.com raised about USD 2.3 billion. On 10 July 2013, Flipkart announced it had received $200 million from existing investors Tiger Global, Naspers, Accel Partners, and ICONIQ Capital, and an additional $160 million from Dragoneer Investment Group, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Sofina, Vulcan Inc. and more from Tiger Global.
- In February 2014, online fashion retailer Myntra.com raised $50 million from a group of investors led by Premji Invest, the investment company floated by Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro. May 2014 also witnessed an acquisition of Myntra by Flipkart reportedly for ₹2,000 crores.
- In September 2015, PepperTap raised $36 million from Snapdeal and others.
- In July 2020, Purplle raised $30 million from Goldman Sachs and others.
- In January 2021, B2B Udaan has raised $280 million from new investors Moonstone Capital Partners and Octahedron Capital, besides existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, DST Global, GGV Capital, Altimeter Capital and Tencent Holdings.
Since 2014, the Government of India has announced various initiatives, namely Digital India, Make in India, Start-up India, Skill India and Innovation Fund. The timely and effective implementation of such programs will likely support growth of E-commerce in the country. Some of the major initiatives taken by the Government to promote E-commerce in India are as follows:
- As of February 15, 2020, the Government eMarketplace (GeM), listed 1,071,747 sellers and service providers across over 13,899 product and 176 service categories. For the financial year 2020-21, government procurement from micro and small enterprises was worth Rs. 23,424 crore (US$ 3.2 billion).
- 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.