In a scenario where our country’s burgeoning population appears to be the root of many problems, the demographics have a silver lining to offer. The fact that India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35 translates into more than 125 million internet users making India one of the top three fastest growing markets in the world. In 2012, India had 18 million new internet subscribers compared to the 14 million in China.
A study conducted in 2013 by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and comScore predicts an even faster growth - reaching 330 million to 370 million users in the next two years, making India the second largest audience after China.
It is here that the silver lining becomes evident when we realize that the present internet users account for only about 10% to 12% of India’s total population of 1.2 billion. With growing internet penetration and emphasis on development by the newly elected Prime Minister’s party-agenda, we can only imagine that the highpointof internet usage numbers in India is yet to come.
What is also evident is the fact that young India is driving the country’s e-commerce. Not to mention the latest surge in m-commerce (online purchases on mobile), which is underlined by India’s 130 million mobile internet users at the end of FY2013-14, a big jump from the 87 million users in December 2012.
So what drives this accelerated growth? - Disposable incomes; a young and educated population; rising use of social media and technology; increasing internet penetration - reaching into smaller cities and the evolution of the online marketplace model.
The next five to ten years promise a big opportunity in online commerce because of the young Indians who are going online with their iPads, mobile phones and smart phones, and this method of interacting with one another is becoming a habit for most of them.
The internet penetration has, in turn, created new business opportunities, prompting several new start-ups as well as existing businesses to enter the online market.Over the last decade, the Indian ecommerce has seen a gradual shift from being a sector driven purely by the online travel business to one with many different verticals and niche segments. The online retail market in India is expected to reach Rs. 7000crores by 2015 from the Rs. 2000-crore-market in 2011, and it is expected to grow much further beyond 2015.