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

Source:, 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.

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.

Amazon scores win as court freezes Future’s $3.4 billion retail deal

Source:, Feb 03, 2021

NEW DELHI: A court blocked Future Group’s sale of a swathe of assets to rival Reliance Industries on Tuesday after Amazon raised objections to the $3.4 billion deal, in a battle of the retail titans that could reshape the shopping sector.

The decision is a setback for Future, the country’s second-largest retailer with over 1,700 stores, which agreed to sell its retail businesses to market leader Reliance last year. It has said it could face liquidation if the deal falls through.

US online giant Amazon, which had its sights set on ultimately owning part of the retail assets itself, argued a 2019 deal it had with a unit of Future contained clauses prohibiting Reliance Retail from selling them to anyone on a “restricted persons” list including Reliance. Read the rest of this entry »

Amazon signs MoU with K’taka to help drive e-commerce exports from state

Source: Business Standard, Jan 28, 2021

Bengaluru: The Amazon India on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Karnataka to help drive e-commerce exports from the state.

As part of the MoU with the Department of Industries and Commerce, Amazon will train and onboard MSMEs from the state on Amazon Global Selling, its exports programme, enabling them to sell their unique Made in India products globally to millions of Amazon customers across 200+ countries and territories, it said in a statement.

The company said that Amazon Global Selling lowers the entry barrier for motivated Indian MSMEs to expand their business and launch their brands globally from anywhere in India.

With this programme, homegrown businesses get instant access to global markets from Day one, benefiting from Amazon’s distribution capabilities and global footprint to scale rapidly, creating a sustainable exports business, Amazon said.

As part of the programme, Amazon will conduct training, webinars and on-boarding workshops for exporters from key MSME clusters like Ballari, Mysuru, Channapatna and other districts.

The workshops will focus on sharing knowledge and imparting training to MSMEs about Business-to-consumers e- commerce exports and selling worldwide through Amazon’s 17 international marketplaces to over 300 million customers worldwide. The company quoted Jagadish Shettar, Minister for Large and medium scale Industries, as saying, “Karnataka has a vibrant automobile, agro, aerospace, textile and garment, biotech, and toys / handicraft sectors which is held together by lakhs of MSMEs.

Indian e-commerce industry poised to touch $90-100 billion in 3-4 years: Flipkart Group CEO

Source:, Jan 27, 2021

New Delhi: The pandemic has brought in a shift in consumer behaviour, providing a major fillip to the Indian e-commerce industry that is now poised to touch USD 90-100 billion in the next 3-4 years, Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said on Wednesday. Krishnamurthy said while challenges brought in by the COVID-19 pandemic impacted businesses, many new avenues also opened up.

“The opportunities that modern retail present are significant for businesses of all sizes, including the kirana ecosystem. Flipkart is also doing its best to help small businesses and artisans embrace the power of technology and be a part of the modern retail opportunity,” he said.

Krishnamurthy noted that e-commerce has been gaining traction over the years and in 2019, more than 10 per cent of Indians had already shopped something online.

This trend was further accelerated after the lockdown forced people to stay indoors. Many turned to online platforms for buying grocery and other essentials during this time and have continued to do so after the lockdown was lifted.

“Close to 100 per cent of pin codes in India have seen e-commerce adoption. This includes categories like fashion, appliances, furniture… More than 60 per cent of transactions and orders in India come from tier two cities and smaller towns. We still believe that we are scratching the surface when it comes to e-commerce adoption in India,” he said.

He pointed out that only 3.5 per cent of Indian commerce is online as compared to more than 25 per cent e-commerce adoption in China, and other developed economies that have 10-25 per cent adoption rates.

“COVID-induced spike (in e-commerce) has actually changed several categories, there is a new normal. And the meaning of essential categories has also completely changed. We believe the Indian e-commerce economy has seen a permanent shift for the positive,” Krishnamurthy said.

He added that over the next few years, the Indian e-commerce economy will be bigger than modern retail today.

“The pre-COVID growth rates of e-commerce were roughly 26-27 per cent but if you look at the post-COVID estimates, it has gone closer to 30 per cent…In the next three to four years, what we were estimating the e-commerce market size was roughly in the range of about USD 50-60 billion, today, the same numbers are actually close to USD 90-100 billion,” he said.

Krishnamurthy said innovations around voice-based commerce, vernacular support, use of videos and affordability are playing an important role in the growth of e-commerce as more Indians come online and start conducting digital transactions.

Amazon partners with Startup India, others to boost e-commerce exports

Source: Business Standard, Jan 19, 2021

New Delhi: Amazon on Tuesday said it has partnered with Startup India, Sequoia Capital India and Fireside Ventures to launch an accelerator programme to help early-stage startups take their brands to global audiences.

The Amazon Global Selling Propel (AGSP) programme has been designed to support early stage startups (raised funding in post seed to pre-series A stage, if funded) in the consumer products space to launch in international markets and create global brands from India through Amazon’s Global Selling programme.

As part of the Startup Accelerator, Amazon has constituted a mentorship board consisting of Amazon leaders from India and across the world, VCs and senior leaders from Startup India.

The application process will be open for about three weeks, following which 10 startups would be chosen for the accelerator.

The programme will feature a six-week 1:1 mentorship module for the shortlisted participants where they will get to interact with Amazon leaders from India and worldwide and get firsthand knowledge on building and scaling up exports business through e-commerce, Abhijit Kamra, Director – Global Trade at Amazon India, said.

Amazon will provide the support for these startups to launch their products worldwide through its exports programme Amazon Global Selling, he added.

These startups will then get an opportunity to showcase their business proposition to partner VC firms Sequoia Capital India and Fireside Ventures and three of them will get a chance to win a total equity free grant of USD 50,000 from Amazon.

Amazon will also host open virtual mentorship sessions focused on peer learning by inviting veteran entrepreneurs and members from its mentorship board for startups, to network and learn from their existing ecosystem.

“The adoption of technology and digital transformation has paved the way for India to be at the forefront of innovation, giving rise to some of the best startups in the world. There are many promising, emerging brands that have the capability to become big and go global.

“This is a timely initiative by Amazon which can prove to be a big stepping stone for startups to build their business and get access to global markets, Deepak Bagla, MD and CEO of Invest India, said.

Amit Agarwal, Global Senior Vice President and Country Head Amazon India, said Amazon Global Selling is witnessing tremendous momentum with increasing interest from exporters across India.

“With Amazon Global Selling we will continue to make exports simple and accessible to businesses of all sizes and fulfill our commitment of enabling USD 10 billion in e-commerce exports from India by 2025,” he added.

Launched in 2015 with about 100 exporters, Amazon Global Selling today enables more than 70,000 Indian exporters to sell ‘Made in India’ products through its 15 international websites and reach customers in countries such as the US, the UK, UAE, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Turkey, Brazil, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

It took the programme three years to hit cumulative exports of USD 1 billion and grew 100 per cent to hit the next USD 1 billion in the next 18 months to cross the USD 2 billion milestone in cumulative exports from India. The programme is rapidly boosting exports from India and helping build global Indian brands. In 2019, more than 800 Indian MSMEs on the programme surpassed USD 131,375 (Rs 1 crore) in e-commerce exports sales.

Ecommerce platform Udaan inks pan-India distribution deal with hummel

Source: Business Standard, Jan 18, 2021

New Delhi: Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform Udaan on Monday said it has signed a pan-India distribution partnership with Danish sportstyle brand, hummel.

As part of this partnership, hummel will leverage Udaan’s vast distribution network to offer its range of products across the length and breadth of the country, a statement said.

Founded in 1923, hummel is one of the oldest sportswear brands in the business with roots in football and handball, and has previously been worn by iconic football teams such as Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Benfica and the Denmark national team.

hummel continues to sponsor clubs and players within handball and football, Everton being one of them.

In India, hummel is retailing a wide array of products beyond sports shoes such as T-shirts, sneakers, jackets, track pants, training jackets, sweatshirts, bags, accessories amongst others, the statement said.

“We are excited to sign an agreement with hummel to be their exclusive pan-India distribution partner. We will use our extensive reach, tech-enabled platform and experienced team, to cater to hummel’s existing and prospective customers across the country,” Udaan Head-Lifestyle Business Kumar Saurabh said.

He added that with benefits of immediate access and distribution efficiencies leveraging the power of e-commerce, over 2,500 brands have already partnered Udaan.

These brands are leveraging Udaan’s pan-India distribution network to reach out to over three million users with an everyday delivery cycle across 900 cities covering more than 12,000 pin codes. Udaan also provides marketing and sales support. “Udaan has built an incredible team and digital network throughout India and we look forward to expanding our reach to consumers with an improved customer experience. We are committed to this partnership and look forward to a credible and successful long-term association,” hummel India and South East Asia Director Soumava Naskar said.

Social commerce in India could touch $7bn by 2025: RedSeer

Source: The Economic Times, Jan 18, 2021

NEW DELHI: Social commerce in the country is poised to touch up to USD 7 billion (around Rs 51,703 cr) in GMV by 2025 as the number of online shoppers – especially from tier II cities and beyond – continues to rise, a report by RedSeer Consulting said on Tuesday.

Social commerce refers to e-commerce transactions where buyers and sellers have more direct connection with each other before concluding a purchase, compared to a traditional e-commerce where buyers are choosing by searching or browsing from a digital catalogue.

This report on social commerce included platforms like Meesho but excluded peer-to-peer transactions through social media and online messengers.

RedSeer said social commerce will grow to a large share of India‘s e-commerce market over 2020-25, growing from 1-2 per cent of the USD 38 billion market in 2020 (translating to USD 0.38-0.76 billion) to 4-5 per cent of the forecasted USD 140 billion e-commerce market in 2025.
This would mean the social commerce segment could be between USD 5.6-7 billion in GMV by 2025. GMV is a term used in online retailing to indicate the gross merchandise value of the products sold through the marketplace over a certain period of time.

“Social commerce is inherently focussed on solving the trust issues of the next wave of online shoppers- as reflected in its high share of tier II-plus city consumers. We expect that a significant chunk of India’s over 250 million online shoppers of 2022 and beyond will be very comfortable with social commerce and this model will play a key role in extending ecommerce to the masses,” RedSeer Consulting Director Mrigank Gutgutia told PTI.

In parallel, social commerce players are creating and are expected to further create immense employment opportunities for resellers and suppliers on their platform, he added.

“As a result of this two-sided value creation, we expect that social commerce players would grow to 5 per cent of India’s USD 140 billion e-commerce market in the next five years, growing at a massive 65 per cent-plus CAGR. And, the initial results of social commerce’s growth are already visible- with a large social commerce player already being in the top 5 ecommerce players in India,” he said.

The report noted that there had been a 3X growth year-on-year in September 2020 in terms of gross GMV.

For social commerce players, 20 per cent of their customers are estimated to be from metros, 25 per cent from tier I cities and the remaining from tier II cities and beyond.