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The IMRG Guide to eCommerce in India

 

India isn’t an easy target. It is, however, a very interesting one.

  • There are a lot of people in India! Based on average statistics such as GDP/head, they are rather poor, with literacy levels of only c65% in key age groups such as 30-40 year olds
  • However, general “average” statistics about India are unhelpful when considering it as a cross-border ecommerce prospect. There is significant inequality of wealth distribution, with around 6% of the population – about 80M people – likely to be plausible targets
  • The addressable market is comparable in size to Germany and in wealth to Poland, and is growing steadily as India grows wealthier

General “average” statistics about India are unhelpful when considering it as a cross-border ecommerce prospect. There is significant inequality of wealth distribution, with around 6% of the population – about 80M people – likely to be plausible targets.

There’s a target market roughly the same size as Germany with roughly the same wealth as Poland, with ecommerce growing attractively, but probably not explosively, strongly by about +20% per year and expected to continue to do so for a long time to come, and with growth in sales of international brands growing well ahead of this average.

Indian demographics, including its national census, almost always make the distinction between urban and rural populations – it really is almost two separate countries in terms of lifestyle. Roughly one third of the population is defined as urban, which is currently where internet usage is concentrated.

There are plenty of target customers in several rapidly growing demographic segments; they are hungry for western goods and brands; and both local and international competition is relatively weak; there is steady and continuous growth in ecommerce; English is the language of commerce; the general internet landscape is the familiar one of Facebook and Google; there is a real opportunity to quickly gain first-mover advantage in your segment for your brand.

In terms of your trading calendar, there are many fixtures to take in to account (and thus many opportunities to promote your products). Indians shop at festivals and for family events, and there are an awful lot of festivals, varying by region, celebrated by extended families spread across the country.

Since India is big enough to encompass multiple climate zones. From a practical perspective, there are (sort of) four seasons, but if your trading is based on an Autumn-Winter (cold and wet) and Spring-Summer (warm and dry) seasonality then it’s probably going to need some modification for India. The key factor is the monsoon, which affects most of the key population centres, and happens in what in the UK we would think of as summer. For most of the rest of the year, much of India is rather dry.

 

Read more

IMRG has published a cross-border trading guide for retailers thinking about entering the Indian ecommerce market.

It includes

  • An overview of the Indian ecommerce market
  • How to reach Indian shoppers
  • Payment
  • Legal framework & regulation
  • Logistics

Download the India eCommerce Country Guide, or read on for an introduction to the market.

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