It’s easy to take eComerce and online retailing for granted, after all we’ve been buying stuff from the web for 15 years now. But it is still a very up-for-grabs proposition in many parts of the world, I had not realized how far behind India was, for example…
From The Economist:
Few Indians held credit cards and fewer still were keen on disclosing their card details. Nowadays more than 100m surf the web. Close to 30m scour for bargains online, and the number which grows by 1.5m every month. The industry is worth around $10 billion, though travel-ticket sales alone accounted for $8.4 billion last year.
Little wonder, then, that in 2011 investors ploughed more than $450m into Indian e-commerce. Flipkart, India’s largest online store by revenue has so far raised $31m since it was founded in 2007 and employs more than 5,000 people. With average daily sales of $500,000, the company aims to hit $1 billion by 2014-15. Last December Ambareesh Murty, an erstwhile e-Bay executive, used a seed fund of $5m to launch Pepperfry.com, which sells lifestyle products. In February Amazon debuted in India through Junglee.com, a product-comparison website which aggregates information from different e-commerce sites. In just two years Snapdeal’s venture-capital (VC) backers have stumped up $52m. Myntra, a popular seller of fashion products, has managed to tap investors for $40m since its launch in 2007.
It is only natural that the industry should flourish. Indians are young—almost half of them are under 25—and growing richer. Its income per capita has risen by 12% between 2008 and 2011, to $1,500. The International Monetary Fund reckons it will reach $2,300 by 2016.
If you thought Latin America had a big emerging middle class, just imagine what could eventually happen with India! The sheer scale and size of this opportunity cannot be fathomed (although they are not very friendly to foreign companies who want to compete with their local companies).