E-commerce: Powered by Internet surge, online shopping touches new heights in India in 2012
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People turned to the Internet to buy everything from diapers to books, houses and even groceries this year, pushing e-commerce revenues in the country to USD 14 billion with the possibility of even higher earnings in 2013.
Factors like spiralling inflation and slower economic growth failed to dampen the online shopping frenzy as more and more companies opted for selling wares through the internet route, offering innumerable options and discounts to buyers.
"Increasing Internet penetration and availability of more payment options boosted the e-commerce industry in 2012.
Besides electronics, customer traction grew considerably in categories like fashion and jewellery, home and kitchen and lifestyle accessories like watches and perfumes," Snapdeal Vice President (Marketing) Sandeep Komaravelly said.
While travel still comprises a significant portion of the e-commerce market, other segments are catching up fast.
"Apparel, books and lifestyle categories (beauty, footwear and health) will drive e-commerce," HomeShop18.com Founder and CEO Sundeep Malhotra said, adding that relatively stable and growing domestic economy will also be major growth drivers. "The coming year looks promising for the industry."
According to Peppercloset.com owner Sumeet Arora, e-commerce segment has doubled to USD 14 billon this year from USD 6.3 billion in 2011. This figure is likely to reach 38 million by 2015.
So, what can one expect in 2013 from the thousands of e-commerce websites.
"More personalised offers, loyalty programmes and better customer care is what most e-commerce companies would focus on to offer customers a richer, more relevant online experience," an industry analyst said.
According to HomeShop18.com, an innovation that will "revolutionise" e-commerce in India is cost optimisation through warehouse and logistics management that will enable companies to do profitable business.
While players like eBay and IndiatimesShopping have been around for a while, one saw many more portals mushrooming in 2012. An important entry in the Indian market was that of one of the world's largest online retailer -- Amazon.com. The website launched the desi version as 'Junglee.com'.