Where is Amazon?

I asked this question casually to a friend’s son studying in the third standard. His answer was “My father’s phone”. It took me by surprise, because I expected “South America” to be the answer. I couldn’t help chuckling to myself thinking of how Amazon, once, only the Largest River of the world flowing through South America has now flown to the smart phones of the Indians. This is the magic of e-commerce and along with the whole world India too is participating in the e-commerce revolution. E-commerce is nothing but internet mediated commercial transactions, right from online hotel booking, to online grocery shopping. There surely is some reason behind ecommerce gaining popularity.

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E for Efficient and E for Effective is the mantra for the new age Indian global citizens for whom transacting over the World Wide Web is way easier and worthwhile than transacting in person. Through e-commerce, sellers can reach out to an unimaginable number of prospective customers in infinitesimally small span of time. Hence, it is Efficient. In the huge group of prospective buyers the probability of reaching people who would actually pay for the service or product is pretty high, thus making it Effective. On the other side the buyers too get a plethora of options to choose from, compare prices and get easy access to the goods and services with easy payment options, making e-commerce a perfect fit for a growing market like India. The growth has featured in various fields impacting many Indian lives positively.

E- commerce in India-now and tomorrow: India is seeing a steady growth in online shopping, online booking for travel and entertainment, online grocery and food delivery and online selling and buying services thanks to the growth in the number of Mobile internet users in India. A report by IAMAI says that India was expected to have approximately 371 million mobile internet users by June 2016 (actual number not yet published). The number of mobile internet users has increased from 238 million in June 2014 to 306 million in December 2015, contributors being from both the urban and rural population. Although the growth in mobile internet usage has happened simultaneously in urban and rural India, the participation of urban India (especially the big cities and metros) in growth of e-commerce outperforms the contribution of rural India. However, with more urbanization this difference in contribution shall get reduced year over year. India’s e-commerce market is expected to grow to more than $100 billion by 2020.

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The business category wise growth statistics and trend shows that the highest growth has been contributed by the online travel industry which analysis says, shall reach up to Rs. 1,22,815 crores by December 2016. Besides online travel related e-commerce, online shopping remains a dominant contributor towards growth in e-commerce. Increased online sale of mobile and mobile related accessories, computer and related accessories and apparel seems to be accounting for major growth in e-retail. This trend is accelerating every day and analytics predict that online retail will reach Rs 72,639 crore by the end of 2016. Other categories of e-commerce on the rise are booking online movie tickets, online grocery and food delivery, and online cab booking.

With promises, exist hurdles as well which India needs to overcome in order to make its mark in the global revolution in e-commerce. The growth in online retail is threatening traditional sellers in India who are demanding increased protection from the government. Further, as e-commerce is a comparatively new sector, the current laws on taxation of businesses do not entirely suit the online retail companies. Some amendments in the relevant laws can help working around this situation.

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In a nutshell India is receiving the world-wide trend of increasing e-commerce with a lot of warmth. Although a little late but India’s emerging market for e-commerce seems really promising if the small hurdles are removed. That time is not far when going to the market to buy fresh vegetable and fruits, something our parents are so fond of, will become a once in a while amusement trip for us. All said and done, would like to end this on an emotional note with a small request to all my fellow citizens of the world, may we all enjoy the ease of ‘www’ in all aspects of life but simultaneously teach our kids that besides being an online retail company, ‘Amazon’ is the World’s Biggest River by discharge of water.


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