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.

Etailers differ on e-commerce FDI policy in meeting with DPIIT

Source: ETRetail.com, Mar 26, 2021

Leading e-commerce companies were split on the issue of the government’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy for the sector at a meeting with officials of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on Thursday.

US-based e-tailer Amazon and Walmart-owned homegrown e-commerce company Flipkart sought policy certainty for a stable investment climate amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, Tata Cliq and Reliance Retail pushed for a wider definition of group companies to prevent misuse and strict checks on violations of Press Note 2 regulations, along with penalties, multiple people who attended the meeting said.

The department has asked for written submissions from the companies in the next one week, they added.

An Amazon spokesperson told ET that the “FDI policy needs to be stable and predictable for investor confidence as any disruption in business will impact millions of livelihoods and jobs, have negative consequences on downstream suppliers and service providers including MSMEs, startups and offline stores which have barely recovered from the setback of Covid-19.”

Flipkart’s representative said at the meeting that frequent policy changes were disruptive and would spoil the country’s image and sought that the government refrain from changing any laws and for light-touch regulation to realise the full potential of the e-commerce sector.

There are already enough enforcement mechanisms to tackle violations in FDI laws and investments by domestic players were a positive for the sector, the Flipkart representative is learnt to have said at the meeting.

The virtual meeting, chaired by DPIIT secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra, was attended by representatives of about 25 e-commerce companies, including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Reliance Retail, Jio Platforms, 1mg, Tata Cliq, Swiggy, Shopclues, Info Edge, Paytm, Grofers, Ola and Uber.

Some companies also raised issues such as capital dumping and manufacturing of own brands but sale via third parties by e-commerce players.

Tata Cliq’s submissions at the meeting were around ensuring a level playing field by curbing deep discounting, transparency through audits and disallowing marketplaces from owning inventory, said Gurvinderjit Samra, chief business officer.

“What is needed is for the government to do something on the ground (to address violations). It could be in the form of penalties or anything else,” Samra said. “Marketplaces should not be discounting from their side, which we see continuing to happen from time to time during large events”.

Reliance Retail, sources said, submitted that FDI laws were being violated and made a case for changing the definition of related parties.

Flipkart, Snapdeal and Reliance Industries did not respond to requests for comment till press time Thursday.

Foreign e-commerce companies will have to split sale price, fee retrospectively

Source: ETRetail.com, Mar 25, 2021

Foreign e-commerce goods or service providers operating in India will have to retrospectively segregate sale prices of goods or services on the site and commissions so as to distinguish between the heads on which equalisation levy becomes applicable.

Companies will also have to segregate inventory of resident and non-resident sellers on their platforms, said experts.

“For example, a website operating on a marketplace model could list goods from both Indian and foreign sellers, but based on the new amendment, the intention appears to exclude the sales price of goods of Indian sellers from the ambit of the levy,” said Rohinton Sidhwa, tax partner at Deloitte India.

Since sale prices would belong to the resident seller but commissions that the foreign platform charges would belong to the foreign entity, equalisation levy would apply on the latter and local taxes would apply on the former.

“In case of market places or aggregator which don’t own inventory, the systems or ERPs will have to devise a method of segregating inventory from resident and non-resident sellers,” said Pranav Sayta, national leader international tax at EY India.

India’s e-commerce market to be worth $99 billion by 2024: Report

Source: ETRetail.com, Mar 19, 2021

The e-commerce sector in India is predicted to grow at a 27% CAGR over 2019-24 and is expected to reach $99 billion by 2024, according to a report released by EY-IVCA Trend Book 2021. Grocery and fashion/apparel are said to be the key drivers of this growth.

The report revealed that India will have 220 million online shoppers in India by 2025. The penetration of retail is expected to be 10.7% by 2024, compared to 4.7% in 2019. It stated that the government is aiming to build a trillion-dollar online economy by 2025, through its Digital India programme.

“The online retail market in India is estimated to be 25% of the total organized retail market and is expected to reach 37% by 2030-27,” it said.

The increase in online users has been witnessed across various segments coming from Tier 2 and 3 cities. This could serve as a great market for native startups to tap in. The report said that the rise of technology adoption among small and medium businesses is also expected to drive the growth for digitally native startups. With small merchants, increasingly implementing online payments and mobile channels they are also exploring collaborations with technology-driven startups.

At the same time, there have been various initiatives from the government with the aim to digitize the traditional offline market and boost the e-commerce sector such as Start-up India, Digital India, Skill India, Innovation Fund and BharatNet.

“Various regulatory reforms such as new draft e-commerce policy, the national retail policy and consumer protection rules 2020 showcase the government’s inclination towards building this sector further,” the report stated.

It further added that the rapid increase in internet users has attracted new budding entrepreneurs to set up establishments coming up with innovative pricing and stocking practices (marketplace vs inventory) while traditional players (brick and mortar stores) are slowly catching up. This has helped in the development of B2C e-commerce as there are now numerous choices in terms of brands, faster delivery, discount offers, personalization, digital payment options, cash on delivery, and easy returns.

“Companies are creating an omni-channel presence, blending online shopping and offline retail to overcome trust issues of customers. Leading e-tailers in India are planning to open brick-and-mortar stores. Digital B2C companies have also invested in creation of brands which attract young millennial crowd consisting of a majority of the online shoppers who tend to be more brands conscious. These companies are forming innovative product bundles aligned with the needs of customers and thus ensuring greater customer engagement,” the report stated.

The rise of B2C e-commerce
There has also been a significant influx of capital in B2Cs primarily to support the supply chain, global expansion, acquisitions and to bring innovative product offers to the market. The report revealed that the growing B2C e-commerce scenario is attracting a lot of attention and key investments from international companies.

Some key investments in the B2C market in 2020: $90 million investments in interior designer marketplace LiveSpace and $52 million investment in online grocery platform BigBasket. Key investors include Venturi Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners LP, Goldman Sachs, TPG Capital Inc., CDC Group Plc and Alibaba.com India.

Karthik Reddy, Managing Partner, Blume Ventures and Vice-Chairperson, IVC
Association (IVCA) said in a statement, “In the next phase of ecomm, we expect a surge of demand from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and towns in India, bringing in the next 100s of millions of consumers. A new wave of investments in this sector in both B2B and B2C commerce are creating a huge gig economy, several sub sectors have emerged, and innovation is going to storefronts, local commerce, e-commerce infra and payments.”

In 2020, e-commerce and consumer internet companies raised more $8 billion in PE/VC capital spread over 400 deals (excluding Jio platform investment) giving rise to nine new unicorns. Edtech and hyperlocal segments led the investment activity, together accounting for over 40% of 2020 investments and witnessing 5x and 2x growth in funding value respectively over 2019.

Govt sees faster redressal of complaints after e-commerce rules notified

Source: ETRetail.com, Mar 16, 2021

The Centre on Monday said it is seeing faster redressal of complaints after new rules for e-commerce companies with penal action were notified in July 2020. According to the new rules, the e-commerce players will have to display mandatorily details like maximum retail price, expiry date, country of origin, refund and return details, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, and any other information that may be required by consumers to make informed decisions.

Briefing media, Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) chief commissioner Nidhi Khare said: “Earlier, most complaints against e-commerce companies were not redressed. But after e-commerce rules were notified, there has been a reduction in complaints and in fact faster redressal”.

Khare, however, did not disclose the names of e-commerce companies that were redressing consumer complaints faster. She, however, said, “big multinational e-commerce companies have started following at least six declarations of a product like MRP, expiry and country of origin”.

After rules were put in place, Khare said, the ministry had engaged the Quality Council of India (QCI) to check the violation of the new norms by e-commerce platforms. Based on the QCI assessment, the government has issued show-cause notices to companies that were found violating the new rules.

Many companies closed the cases after compounding (payment of penalty) and some hearings are still underway, she said, adding that new rules have made a “lot of difference”. CCPA has issued 37 show-cause notices to e-commerce companies and online travel portals besides firms manufacturing water purifiers, paints, floor cleaner, apparel, cement and furniture.

Further, Khare said newly set up regulatory authority CCPA has started analysing consumer complaints for taking Suo moto class action. “If we see a fit case of class action, we are taking Suo moto class action on behalf of consumers and questioning the companies,” she added.

Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan, who was also present in the media briefing, said maximum complaints are related to e-commerce transaction followed by banking, telecom, electronic products and consumer durables.

Besides e-commerce related complaints, the CCPA has also requested insurance and telecom regulators for resolving the consumer complaints regarding portability, network, broadband-related issue, while the RBI for adhering to timelines of the settlement of claims, she said.

About 1,88,262 consumer grievances were registered against e-commerce companies on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) till February of the current fiscal, she said, adding that companies are being encouraged to converge with the NCH to redress the complaints.

So far, 647 companies from various sectors have converged with NCH. Registration of consumer complaints have been on an increasing trend every year especially from Tripura, Meghalaya, Andaman Nicobar, Arunachal Pradesh, Puducherry and Nagaland, she added.

The secretary also mentioned that the eDaakhil portal has been simplified for filing complaints by consumers online from anywhere for redressal.

India’s new draft e-commerce policy to rein in related parties

Source: The Economic Times, Mar 15, 2021

Bengaluru: The government is looking at extending restrictions placed on large ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart to their associates and related parties, to curb alleged circumvention of foreign direct investment (FDI) norms and anti-competitive activities by these players.

A leaked copy of the upcoming draft e-commerce policy, which The Economic Times has reviewed, said the government will, from time to time, notify which parties fall under the definition of associates and related parties. Industry leaders said this will give rise to uncertainty.

“Actions and things that cannot be done by the platform entities can also not be done by any of its associates and related parties,” read the draft e-commerce policy, without divulging any further details.

India’s e-commerce FDI rules don’t allow for online marketplaces to hold inventory of their own or influence the price of goods sold and prohibit group companies or entities in which marketplaces have control of inventory to sell on their platforms, among other things.

“If this new policy goes through, there will be no business certainty (in e-commerce),” said a top executive at a leading ecommerce marketplace who didn’t want to be identified. If the government can, at any time, change its definition of related parties, forcing us to restructure our businesses, that does not create a very conducive environment.”

He added that India should instead use the e-commerce policy to define related parties and stick to that for the next few years at least, giving large marketplaces confidence to continue investing billions of dollars in the country just as they have been doing over the last decade or so. Government officials refused to comment. They said due process would be followed by making the draft public, and comments would be sought from industry lobby groups, companies and any other related parties.

They didn’t say when the draft e-commerce policy would be put in the public domain.

Addressing Complaints
The draft policy also said marketplaces will need to be impartial to sellers on their platforms. They should not misuse data collected to gain an advantage over vendors. Both of these were complaints raised by groups such as the Confederation of All India Traders, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, All India Online Vendors Association and their affiliates.

In the case of marketplaces fulfilling orders end-to-end, the liability for counterfeits will be jointly borne by the ecommerce company and the seller, something that experts pointed out could be in violation of the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules that were introduced last year.

The much-delayed draft e-commerce policy comes in the backdrop of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) hosting consultations on changes needed in the FDI policy for e-commerce, which will be held on March 17-19. Several investigations are also ongoing by India’s competition watchdog and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the business practices of Amazon and Flipkart.

These issues have been highlighted again after recent reports that Amazon favoured large sellers such as Cloudtail and Appario on its platform. The company has denied this. ET also recently reported that Flipkart was restructuring its B2B business, asking its large sellers to source directly from brands and manufacturers to reduce compliance risk ahead of its initial public offering (IPO).

Nonetheless, some welcomed the contents of the draft. If implemented, the policy will curb the dominance of e-commerce players such as Amazon and Flipkart, which is hurting millions of small retailers, they said.

“They (Amazon and Flipkart) are openly flouting norms and have treated India as a banana republic,” said CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal. “I’m pleased to see that things are moving in the right direction now, and final discussions are going to be held with stake holders and others. It shows the government’s intention that it will come out with a new Press Note and a robust ecommerce policy.”

Exceeding Ambit?
Another executive at a large e-commerce firm said that while the latest draft policy clears up some of the confusion the previous draft had created over data sharing and consumer protection, it does introduce new complexities. It also further empowers the executive to frame rules on the sector, he added.

“Given the interdisciplinary nature of e-commerce, the Standing Group of Secretaries on e-commerce shall give recommendations to address policy challenges. The SGoS is an important avenue of ensuring that the policy keeps pace with the digital environment,” the copy of the draft ecommerce policy read.

The company executive cited above said DPIIT may be exceeding its remit by trying to curb creation of monopolies in a sector that still only accounts for a small slice of the business.

“We will need to see if this policy passes the test of well-established competition laws. We hope that people question the role of the government in ensuring there is more competition in a sector that accounts for just 3-4% of trade, versus letting market forces play out and determine that,” said the person.

The leaked draft ecommerce policy said the government will aim to ensure there are more service providers available to consumers and sellers to ensure no monopolies are created, declaring this to be in the interest of “the Indian consumer and the local startup ecosystem.”

The draft policy added that platforms having foreign investment will comply with the FDI policy, which will supersede the e-commerce policy.

Ecommerce accounts for nearly a third of several electronic categories, research shows

Source: ETRetail.com, Feb 20, 2021

Ecommerce now accounts for nearly a third of several electronic categories, almost half of smartphones sold and about a fifth of all apparel sales in India, increasing at their highest pace in 2020 when most consumers hunkered down in their homes due to Covid related restrictions and feared shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, as per just released data by researchers GfK, Nielsen, IDC and company officials.

For daily essentials and fast moving consumer goods, sales tracker Nielsen said the e-commerce spurt is more prominent in the metroes.

E-commerce contribution to total FMCG sales touched an all-time high of 2.8% in 2020 up from 1.9% a year back. In metroes, the contribution is at 7.5%. Large manufacturers like Hindustan Unilever, ITC, Nestle and Marico have said their e-commerce contribution has more than doubled in 2020 to around 5-6% of total sales.

For television and home appliances, e-commerce contribution has surged by 3 to 5 percentage points of total sales in 2020 over the previous year.

E-commerce accounts for 31% of total television sales last year up from 27% in 2019, for microwave oven it has grown from 32% to 37% while for refrigerator and washing machine online now accounts for 12% (7% in 2019) and 18% (14%) respectively as per GfK data.

Mobile phone researcher IDC India said e-commerce sales of smartphones grew by 12% annually to account for 48% of total sales in 2020 up from 41.7% in 2019, even as the overall market declined by 1.7% last year.

Company CEOs and trackers said the shift to e-commerce last year might be permanent for most of the categories.

“With consumer preference for e everything, there are clear tailwinds for this business. As consumers get used to assortment and convenience of ecommerce, we believe this will continue to stick,” Sanjiv Mehta, chairman at Hindustan Unilever said in a recent earning call.

GfK India managing director Nikhil Mathur said the pandemic triggered a structural shift in buying behavior through increased preference of online shopping via general shopping apps, brands’ own websites and social media.

“This digitalization trend is expected to continue with evolving consumer needs and choices across big and small cities. With life coming back to normal and offline retail seeing increasing footfalls, omni-channel experience will be key for success,” he said.

However, IDC India’s research director Navkendar Singh said the contribution of e-commerce to total smartphone sales may come down in 2021 to around 43% to 46% with some consumers shifting back to brick-and-mortar stores as vaccination picks up pace and overall Covid cases are expected to decline.

Fashion
Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail (ABFRL) said its lifestyle business in e-commerce channel grew 45% during last quarter, while Arvind Fashions (AFL) saw sales from online channels, both from marketplaces like Myntra as well as its own portal, more than double last quarter with omni-channel annualized sales at over Rs 1,000 crore.

“Our ecommerce business recorded 230% growth over last year and now contributes to 20% of our business, ” Shailesh Chaturvedi, chief executive of AFL told ET earlier this month.

Companies, however, said demand at brick-and-mortar sales is not affected by the exponential growth in online as price tags and discounts are now similar in both the channels.

“The e-com business is fairly independent from the exclusive brand outlet business that requires physical space. What we have ensured is that we have parity on pricing, discounts and so on, so that the consumer gets the same price experience across various channels. So to that extent, the one does not affect the other,” Vishak Kumar, chief executive officer – lifestyle business at ABFRL.

In fact, companies have started using brand outlets as fulfillment centres for online delivery and as a result, also opening more stores to reach a wider network that can service ecommerce sales as well.

Flipkart, trade body tie up to enable small businesses to grow

Source: Business Standard, Feb 18, 2021

Chennai: Flipkart, an e-commerce firm, on Thursday said it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tamil Nadu Micro, Small Medium Enterprises Trade and Investment Promotion Bureau to serve local artisans, weavers, craftsmen.

The partnership, under the Flipkart ‘Samarth’ programme, would enable the artisans, weavers, craftsmen and small industries to showcase their products from the house of Flipkart.

The trade bureau would support Flipkart with its state- owned affiliated enterprises and undertakings which work with the crafts producers and farmers.

“There are 294 industrial cooperative societies functioning under the department. Many of them are involved in production of handicraft items, including GI registered products. This MoU will provide these societies with a new vigour and link them to a national market for their products,” Industries Commissioner Anu George said.

“Flipkart Samarth is a nationwide initiative which aims to help skilled local artisan communities set up their business on the Flipkart Marketplace in an efficient, transparent manner. The programme seeks to break entry barriers for local artisans, weavers by extending incubation support which includes benefits in the form of seamless onboarding and cataloguing,” Flipkart Group chief corporate affairs officer Rajneesh Kumar said.

The Samarth was launched in 2019 to build a sustainable and inclusive platform for under-served, domestic communities and businesses to empower them with greater opportunities and better livelihood. Currently, the programme supports over 7.50 lakh artisans, weavers and craftsmen across the country, a press release said.

No proposal to change FDI rules for e-commerce, says Parkash

Source: Business Standard, Feb 10, 2021

New Delhi: There is no proposal to bring in changes in FDI (foreign direct investment) norms for the e-commerce sector, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash also said there is no proposal at present to establish an e-commerce regulator.

“There is no proposal to bring in changes to FDI investment rules for e-commerce sector in India, at present,” he said.

To a query on prices of steel and cement, Parkash said complaints regarding cartelisation by cement companies have been received and Competition Commission of India (CCI) is the appropriate authority to deal with such types of complaints.

CCI has received seven complaints related to the steel sector, which are under examination.

“There is no proposal under consideration at present for setting up of a regulating authority for steel or cement sectors,” he added. Further replying to a question, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the government on August 28, 2018 had published the draft e-pharmacy rules and those are under stakeholder consultations.

E-commerce grew by 36% in last quarter; personal care biggest beneficiary

Source: Business Standard, Feb 10, 2021

Bengaluru: The last quarter of 2020 saw e-commerce order volume growing by 36 per cent in India with Personal care, Beauty and Wellness (PCB&W) segment being the biggest beneficiary, according to a report.

In October to December 2020 period, PCB&W and FMCG & Healthcare (F&H) categories’ volumes grew by 95 per cent and 46 per cent year-on-year (YOY) respectively, said the Q4- 2020 -E-commerce Trends Report’, released by Unicommerce and Kearney.

Tier 2 and 3 cities accounted for a 90 per cent YOY incremental volume and value growth, it said.

The report, which assesses the e-commerce growth in Q4 2020 with the sector-wise analysis, said brand websites reported a 94 per cent volume growth in fourth quarter of 2020 as compared to same period last year.

The last quarter of 2020 saw e-commerce grow by 36 per cent and 30 per cent YOY in terms of order volume and gross merchandise value (GMV) respectively, while theaverage order value declined by five per cent in Q4-2020 as compare to same period last year.

The e-commerce industry had reported a 26 per cent order volume growth in Q4-2019 vis-a-vis Q4-2018.

The growth accelerated in light of COVID-19 and the effects of lockdown led to a massive change in consumer habits with many new shoppers and sellers coming online, the report said.

Electronics category witnessed 12 per cent YOY growth in average order value (AOV) in addition to 27 per cent YOY growth in volumes.

Fashion and accessories continue to be the largest segment by volume.

It reported 37 per cent YOY volume growth but AOV declined by seven per cent YOY in Q4-2020 as compared to the same period last year.

With people still working from home, the growth of the category is supported by the purchase of lower value products such as comfort wear and loungewear, the report said.

The lockdowns and reluctance to venture out resulted in many first-time online grocery shoppers, making it an important category for mainstream e-commerce players like Flipkart and Amazon to actively focus and promote the grocery business.

Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities reported significant gains in share of overall e-commerce sales volume share grew to 46 per cent from 32 per cent and value share grew to 43 per cent from 26 per cent during the Q4 CY2020 as compared to the same period last year.

FMCG & Healthcare is the fastest growing category in Tier I and metropolitan with 150 per cent-plus growth, said the report, which covered trends related to the overall e-commerce growth, region-wise consumer demand and direct-to-consumer (D2C) trends and how it affects the industry in the post COVID-19 world.

CEO of Unicommerce, Kapil Makhija said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been widely visible ever since the lockdown was announced in March last year.

The e-commerce industry has emerged as the backbone of the retail industry and small and big players have realised the immense potential that e-commerce holds, he added.

Partner, Kearney, Siddharth Jain, said”The Personal Care, Beauty & Wellness category is an incredibly interesting area of growth online, as it has seen stupendous volume growth of over 95 per cent in Q4-2020, as compared to the same period last year”.

“Tier II and Tier III+ markets have shown maximum growth potential, outpacing that of Tier I cities. During the quarter in review, these cities accounted for a whopping 90 per cent YOY incremental volume and value growth,”Jain said.