Covid pandemic hot-housed e-commerce growth across AMEA region: Survey

MUMBAI: The pandemic has hot-housed e-commerce growth across the AMEA region with India no exception to the trend, according to a survey, which suggests that a majority of Indian SMEs feel that the boom in the segment will continue. Polled on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and consumers in India, and 10 other markets in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region (AMEA, the survey was aimed at exploring the continuing evolution of e-commerce in the region and identifying the trends that could fuel their future growth.

Asia Pacific, which includes the world’s biggest e-commerce markets like India, Mainland China, Japan, and Korea, will see revenue from e-commerce sales reach USD 2.09 trillion this year as 57 per cent of the region’s population shops online, according to FedEx Express, which commissioned the survey.

The survey also suggests that consumers are looking for innovations in personalization, shoppertainment and payment options that enhance their experience and at the same time, make it easier to discover new brands and make purchasing convenient.

And with plenty of shopping festivals already in the calendar, consumers are looking for even more seasonal offers, it stated; adding that taken together, the survey shows there is plenty of fertile ground for e-tailers to experiment with new approaches that can help build their customer base.

Consumers in India are much more likely than those in other AMEA markets to forecast future growth in e-commerce, with marketplaces becoming increasingly influential, it said.

Majority of Indian SMEs believe that they are well positioned to reap benefits, with as much as 79 per cent of the small and medium-sized entrepreneurs agreeing that the boom in e-commerce will continue, becoming more important for their business growth in the next three years.

According to the survey, some 83 per cent of the Indian consumers have purchased more from e-commerce platforms in the last three years and this momentum will continue.

“SMEs are the growth engines of the Indian economy. During the pandemic the e-commerce sector provided many SMEs with an opportunity to recover and expand their business. Today, cross border trade has emerged as a key business priority for SMEs in India and a major opportunity to bolster growth,” said Kami Viswanathan, senior vice president of FedEx Express Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa Operations.

With more people shopping online consumer preferences are becoming increasingly sophisticated. As SMEs and e-merchants evolve their online sales platforms, the survey uncovers opportunities for businesses to capitalize on what consumers want, he stated.

Both SMEs and consumers in AMEA are maturing in their use of e-commerce and both groups agree that the pandemic-driven utilization of e-commerce is here to stay, it stated.

SMEs in India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam were among the most optimistic about their future e-commerce growth in the next three years, a sentiment shared by consumers in these same markets, as per the survey.

E-commerce currently represents less than 6 per cent of total retail sales in each of these markets, FedEx Express survey said

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