Potential of e-commerce exports for MSMEs at $26 billion: Report

Source : Financial Express 31 May 2017

The estimated potential for business to consumer (B2C) e-commerce exports from the country is $ 26 billion, of which $ 2 billion can be achieved by 2020 from 16 product categories, according to a report. The report, jointly released by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), allows Indian MSMEs to explore prospects in B2C e-commerce retail export. “Online international trade is flourishing and given the increasing accessibility to Internet and the focus of the government on digital drive, MSMEs can benefit directly from this opportunity,” Sanjay Bhatia, President FICCI-CMSME, said.

Online retail has seen exponential growth globally over the past two decades, and has picked up in the country in recent years. The e-commerce spend in the country still accounts for less than 2 per cent of the total retail spending, compared to 10-13 per cent in developed countries, the report said. The segment has become a key driver to create new markets in previously unreachable geographies.

According to the report, bandwidth and network restrictions, lack of availability of skilled workforce, privacy and security concerns and inaccessibility to finance are some of the reasons that are dissuading Indian MSMEs from adopting modern retail practices. It highlighted the need for the government to recognise e-commerce retail exports as an industry and work towards removing regulatory barriers, including reviewing the foreign trade policy and simplifying customs duty procedures.

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