Strong growth in new seller addition in India despite pandemic: Amazon

Source: E-Retail.economictimes, Apr 9, 2021

NEW DELHI: Amazon India has witnessed a strong growth in seller addition and rise in number of ‘crorepati’ businesses on the platform even during the pandemic-hit year, a top company executive said.

Speaking to PTI, Amazon Global senior vice president and country head India Amit Agarwal said more than 2.5 lakh new sellers have joined since last year, and that the rate at which sellers have come online has gone by 50 per cent post COVID-19.

“There will always be naysayers out there who would not embrace technology but the right kind of people take advantage and embrace technology and (they) are going to come out of it (pandemic) as far more robust digital businesses and serve their customer base, online and offline and in ways that were not possible before,” he added.

Amazon, Reliance Industries and Walmart Inc’s Flipkart are locked in a battle to gain market share in India, where millions of middle-class customers are newly adopting online purchases of food and groceries due to the pandemic. The booming e-commerce market in the country is expected to touch $86 billion by 2024, according to research firm Forrester.

E-commerce companies have pumped in billions of dollars in setting up infrastructure like warehouses and logistics as well as marketing and promotions to woo users to their platforms, especially from tier II cities and beyond.

Asked about allegations that only a few large sellers – especially those where Amazon has invested – are doing well, Agarwal said “the facts speak of a very different reality”.

“You will always have naysayers and disgruntled custodians out there who do not want to embrace technology and that is okay with us, that happens with every disruption…What I’m super excited about is that entrepreneurs in this country are embracing technology and building robust digital businesses,” he said.

Agarwal pointed out that in offline retail too, not all shops are of the same size.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has alleged unfair practices by Amazon and had sought a probe into the role of Amazon seller, Cloudtail India and Appario Retail (where Amazon is a stakeholder).

“$3 billion in exports doesn’t happen when genuinely grounds up sellers are not coming online…When more customers come, everybody wins…Last year, the number of sellers who became crorepatis exceeded 5,000 and that number increased year over year by 30 per cent,” Agarwal said.

Therefore, not only is the number of crorepatis increasing, but also the rate at which sellers are becoming greater than one crore in sales, is going up, he added.

On the new e-commerce policy that is in the works, Agarwal said the rules should improve the ease of doing business online and exports and should create a more “predictable and stable environment” that enables long-term investment.

“It’s important to realise that e-commerce is very nascent and small, it’s barely 3-4 per cent of overall retail (in the country). Secondly, it’s having a very meaningful impact in the vision of digitising India, enabling an Aatmanirbhar Bharat as laid out by our prime minister, in bringing exports and job creation,” he said.

Agarwal added that an enabling policy would help increase the rate of growth of the e-commerce industry, which is going to be an important lever for economic recovery and job creation.

“It should improve the ease of doing business online, it should improve the ease of doing exports…it should create a predictable and stable environment that enables long-term investment,” he said.

Agarwal explained that building out infrastructure – that allows the smallest of sellers to benefit – requires investment in areas like warehouses, logistics, cataloging, labelling, imaging and training etc and all of that requires capital.

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