E-commerce has been there since the very beginning of the world wide web, but the fact is that, it was given a much needed push and fast adoption by the COVID-19 pandemic. People no longer prefer to go to mall or bazaars for their shopping because, they can do the same from the comfort of their sofas at home by just browsing on their mobile devices and giving their credit cards details.
K.Narasimhan, a senior advocate at the Madras High Court, said that at a time when the Indian retail sector should have been facing an unprecedented crisis, technological solutions paved the way for securing India’s long-term future. He pointed out that till last year, a portion of Indian consumers used e-commerce to buy premium and non-daily products.
“However, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology in the e-retail sector, and e-commerce companies were able to effectively provide essentials and groceries,” the advocate said. “A key feature of this shift has been the willingness of traditional retail shops and MSMEs to adopt e-commerce as a viable means of selling products.”
LocalCircles, a community social media platform, in its recent survey highlighted that 49% Indians preferred e-commerce sites and apps for shopping in the last 12 months, while 18% said they called local retail stores and got home delivery. 31% visited malls, local retailers and markets to shop. It has to be noted that despite the re/opening of markets, consumers prefer to use online platforms for most of their shopping needs.
In this regard, Narasimhan says Walmart and Amazon, who have been working closely with local MSMEs, have fuelled the growth of India’s e-commerce sector. “In 2020, Amazon pledge to digitize 10 million MSMEs, enable one million incremental jobs and drive $10 billion in e-commerce exports by 2025. Meanwhile, Flipkart has over 2,00,000 MSMEs on its platform and a recently launched initiative – the Walmart Vridhhi Supplier Development Program, which aims to empower 50,000 small and medium manufacturers in the next five years,” he highlighted.
It must be said that as Indian regulators focus on establishing new rules to govern the online retail sector by introducing a new policy, they must acknowledge and facilitate the role played by these global companies.