The growth of the mobile phone in India is unprecedented, and so is the growth of internet commerce. And to be sure, the mobile will be the next frontier of shopping.
According to a Morgan Stanley report, e-commerce in India will grow from $11bn in 2013 to $137bn in 2020 – that’s more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Bulgaria. GDP is the financial jargon for total value of goods and services produced by a country.
“We estimate the compound annual growth rate of 60% from 2014-20, making India the fastest-growing e-commerce market globally. Online penetration in the total retail market will likely hit 11% by 2020 as against 1.3% in 2014,” the report said.
But there is a larger trend in play which will shape the future of online commerce in India. This is being led by how the internet is being used in smaller towns and cities, even in villages, which is where the internet is expected to go.
In a country that has 300 million internet users, one-third of them browsing on mobiles. The global average is 50%. By 2020 internet users in India will cross 790 million, but the number of people accessing the internet from their mobiles will grow at a faster pace. As per the report, 90% of the total internet users will use it through mobiles, making India the world’s largest mobile internet user base.
But, even for now, when it comes to e-commerce – which has 50 million online shoppers – the ratios are different. About 60-70% of online commerce happens on mobiles. For example, Flipkart and Snapdeal have 75% of their transactions happening on mobile, ShopClues and Paytm have 70%, and Amazon India has 60%.
Should you call it shopping-on-the-go, maybe India will be the first nation in this world where e-commerce will go through its most innovative makeovers, as shops come into the screen, on your palm. What might be revolutionary is when a villager in Bundu, a small village in Jharkhand’s Ranchi district, can buy clothes available in the malls of Delhi without travelling.