Indian eCommerce industry amidst a global pandemic and outlook.

The Indian retail market includes all organized brick & mortar stores and online shopping sites. Despite the boom in the B2C eCommerce sector in India, the majority of Indians continue to have more faith in the neighborhood brick & mortar stores for shopping, as they prefer to touch and feel the products and negotiating discounts over-the-counter, before buying.

Enter the novel coronavirus, which needs no introduction whatsoever. In India, it has led to a rise in the number of FTUs or first-time-e-commerce-users in India, who had been so far inhibited to shop online.
On 25th March 2020, BigBasket – a key online grocery player in India had the following message.
“We’ll be back soon! We are currently experiencing unprecedented demand. In light of this, we are restricting access to our website to existing customers only. Please try again in a few hours.” So overwhelming was the response that it faced a breakdown due to a steep increase in demand amid COVID-19.

Grofers – a rival, had a similar kind of message. Amazon – one of the leading eCommerce players in the country, prioritized its available fulfillment and logistics capacity to serve essentials. Stopping orders for lower-priority products.

This spike in B2C eCommerce in India is of course due to existing online shoppers stocking up on essentials. However, it also consists of perhaps two more segments –apart from the one that buys online, regularly. A segment that did not shop online, and another segment that up till now, was either ignorant about online shopping or did not have a device or data plan.

A fast-growing economy and robust demographics provide a positive outlook to the consumer businesses in India. The fast-growing e-commerce market in the country will touch $84 billion in 2021 from $24 billion in 2017 on account of healthy growth in the organized retail sector.

Amidst this situation, there’s no doubt this pandemic, and changing consumer behavior will only catalyze the situation.

“underlying the trends the two undercurrents that are sweeping through India – confidence, and change. Confidence, that tends itself to self-belief and total lack of inhabitations to achieve any dream, and a willingness to change.

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