Doubling the online sales in last five years, E-commerce sector in India has started to take shape and is expected to continue the phenomenal growth. Many factors are coherently supporting the growth of E-commerce in the world, and especially in India. Moreover, the speed of the growth of E-commerce in India is remarkable. Factors such as increased use of smartphones, convenient and economic internet access, and busy schedules of working professionals etc., lead to the growth of E-commerce.
China is the biggest E-commerce market in the world, followed by the USA, and then India, but as far as the growth rate of this sector is concerned, India holds the first rank. According to an ASSOCHAM – Forrester study, as compared to annual growth of 51% for e-commerce market in India, the world leader, China stands on an 18% annual growth. The projections for future seem to be promising as the online sales in India are expected to hit $ 120 billion by 2020. The increased inclination of Indians towards the mobile phones, especially smartphones, creates a large platform for mobile commerce to flourish and as a result the percentage of mobile purchases in total E-Commerce sales is increasing every year
E-commerce and its growth have completely revolutionized the way consumers buy. Nowadays, the internet and associated services are not only confined to the urban regions. Internet access in India has huge penetration into the rural territories with the advent of different telecom players and acquired cellular bandwidth by telecom giants. This has led to a vast leap in the sales through mobile commerce. Increasing trust among people regarding online payments through net banking or debit and credit cards to a virtual portal is also adding to increased online sales.
The battlefield – Efforts and Results
The E-commerce market in India is very aggressive. It is a battlefield, with major e-commerce players fighting each other to expand their territory. The mega sale offers rolled out majorly by Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal are an effort to penetrate into the market as deep as possible. These mega sale offers are backed by cut-throat competition, hence the price slashing to gain more on numbers. Flipkart was the first to enter the Indian E-commerce market, followed by Snapdeal and later by Amazon. In the battle between the three, Snapdeal has been the most unlucky competitor facing backlashes and controversies throughout its existence.
Owing to better quality and service, Amazon is treading ahead of Flipkart, leaving it behind in the race of most downloaded app rating by ‘App Annie'. Also, by coming up with ‘Amazon Prime', Amazon surely has secured a Prime position in the e-commerce market. Amazon prime is comparatively more successful as compared to ‘Flipkart First' which came much earlier in the market, i.e., in the year 2014.
Having its own ups and downs, Snapdeal is now gearing up by learning from its own mistakes. The first step towards is rebuilding the brand identity through the ‘Unbox Zindagi’ campaign.
Customer driving forces for E-commerce industry
The primary driving force to attract and retain customers is the quality of product and the service. It is important to understand that customer will only return if the business is able to create an impression of a responsible brand, which is considerate, and gives required importance to the customer. One can say that customer remembers a business if the business remembers its customer!
Also, brand familiarity and recognition is important here, like in any other industry. The e-commerce company should be connected to their customers well and understand their traits. This will help them surprise their customers through customized offerings or worthy offers.
Future of E-commerce Sector in India
Talking about the near future, according to a study by ASSOCHAM, the number of consumers buying online is expected to cross the milestone of 100 million in the year 2017 and is likely to jump by 65% in the year 2018. The number of consumers buying online in the year 2016 was 69 million in India.
Future of this sector will be deciphered by the law of ‘survival of the fittest'. In the longer run, the e-commerce giants will have to fight each other for their share of the market at every level. One important aspect for consideration in future would be the ‘Innovation' on the part of e-commerce businesses. It would be really difficult for new businesses in future to capture larger chunks of the market against giants such as Flipkart, Amazon or Snapdeal unless they bring out the power of innovation and build something which is unique and basically a breakthrough in traditional e-commerce setup. The future of e-commerce in India seems bright and the growth is on the charts!