The Anchor: 5 indications that India is e-commerce-ready

24 Nov,2011

#1 Internet penetration

The sheer number of internet users has grown drastically in the past decade. In 2001, the number of internet users in India stood at 7 million. In 2010 this figure had grown to 100 million (source: Internetworldstats). As a result, the size of the market that needs to be addressed by e-commerce players today is very different and has much more potential.

This growth in internet users is also largely due to the fact that the key enablers for e-commerce are currently coming together in the Indian market. Aspects like broadband and credit card penetration, wireless connectivity, and penetration of hand-held and computing devices have found widespread acceptance today, unlike their limited penetration in 2001. Moreover with mobiles, especially smartphones, becoming more accessible to the average consumer, internet access through mobile platforms is also on the rise.


#2 Multiple players investing to increase awareness and adoption rates

The players currently operating in the e-commerce space are also of an extremely different mindset. Players are more organized, and understand and appreciate the value proposition offered by the industry far better. E-commerce companies are today making investments in technology and innovation that will serve to strengthen and grow their business in the long run. They are not looking at short-term business solutions but are interested in scaling up their operations over a period of time. They are also taking the trouble to understand the points of concern that consumers may have with respect to online shopping and taking the trouble to address that. At Flipkart, for example, we have started our own logistics company to smoothen last-mile deliveries. We also offer services and features like cash/card on delivery, EMIs and 30 Day Replacement Policies to deal with concerns like revealing credit card details or not being able to check the quality of products online.


#3 Change in consumer mindset

Additionally, an increasing number of Indians are now trusting online players as a reliable channel for shopping. Post the success of travel sites, more and more customers are beginning to appreciate the convenience of online shopping. They are beginning to realize that the choice, convenience and cost benefits of online shopping outweigh those of physical retail stores, and are turning to e-commerce for more and more of their shopping requirements.

The industry is expected to grow by 47 percent in 2011 to reach Rs.46, 520 crore by the year-end, according to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India. Online retail (excluding travel ticket booking, etc.) will account for 6 percent, or about Rs.2, 700 crore, of the total market. By 2015, this space is expected to grow to about $10 billion. E-commerce users today stand at 10 million (including travel) and this number is constantly growing.


#4 Popularity of online travel sites

Certain sectors related to e-commerce have already proven themselves in terms of their growth and popularity. Online travel sites began to do well even when there were hardly any players in the online retail sector. This has given e-commerce companies the confidence that the Indian consumer is open to the idea of shopping online and the success story of online travel has consequently begun to rub off on other verticals as well.


#5 Growing investment in an e-commerce eco-system

Market trends are not going unnoticed and more and more professionals/industry bodies are giving serious consideration to e-commerce as a viable investment option. There have been extensive investments made in the e-commerce ecosystem by both government and private players. The realization that the industry players are in this for the long term and are building up their business, keeping in mind benefits to the consumer and the economy, have fuelled an interest that can only speak well for the Indian e-commerce market.

We have been a big believer in the e-commerce story of India. With the country poised to become one of the largest e-commerce led economies in the world, we will continue to aggressively invest in this space and contribute to this growth story in every way we can.


Sachin Bansal is the CEO and Co-founder of


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