Is e-commerce boom already in India? Probably not…

December 15th, 2011

Google, India, Rajan, Anandan, Google India Managing Director Rajan Anandan gave a fascinating talk to a Geeks on a Plane India group this week, giving a snap shot of the data that is driving the consumers, entrepreneurs, trends and investors in the rapidly growing Indian web and mobile markets.

Anandan says: “We’re probably in 1996 in the U.S. in terms of the Internet market in India.” Here’s the stats from Anandan’s deck accompanied with some comments from me in brackets. India has:

  • 1.2 billion people
  • The 9th largest economy in the world, with $1.7 trillion GDP
  • 600 million people below the age of 25
  • 22 languages
  • 250 million in the consuming class — these are the folks that buy e-commerce
  • 900 million mobile accounts, with 600 million unique mobile subscribers (many people have more than one account)
  • 30 million PCs — it’ll be a mobile broadband world
  • Average revenue per user (ARPU) is $3
  • 100 million Internet users, and 120 million Internet users by the end of 2011 that’s about 10% population right now.
  • By 2015 there will be 300 million to 400 million Internet users that would still be about 10% of population then.
  • 37 percent of Internet users access the web from home, 27 percent from an Internet cafe, 22 percent from an office, 3 percent from school
  • There are 50 million mobile data subscribers
  • 5 million access Internet only on the phone but still most of them don”t buy through m-commerce
  • In 2010/2011 e-commerce emerged as a $7 billion market, with $6 billion of that going to online travel
  • By 2015 the e-commerce market is expected to be $40 billion (how will 47 e-commerce companies present in India right now survive until 2015? )
  • 67 percent of e-commerce customers buy electronics and cell phones. 18 percent buy apparel.
  • 15 million 3G mobile subscribers
  • Broadband is 250 kbps to 500 kpbs fixed line
  • The use of smart phones will grow 52 percent CAGR
  • There are 37 million Facebook users
  • Google Plus use is bigger than Twitter use
  • 23 million unique users on YouTube India
  • There will be $1.3 trillion in online ad spend in 2011
  • The English Internet will not scale beyond 200 million, says Anandan
  • 159 million read Hindi newspapers and 31 million read English newspapers
  • There will be a massive tsunami toward vernacular content on the web, says Anandan
  • 70 percent of non-travel e-commerce is “cash on delivery” (no online payments, buyers pay cash when goods are delivered)
  • This cash on delivery market has a 30 percent return rate
  • Web 1.0 and 2.0 are happening at the same time in India, says Anandan.

Some Internet sites that have found success in India:

Considering numbers above, anybody feeling that e-commerce is here and now and they will miss the boat if they don’t enter now can re-think as even if they start 1-2 yrs. down the line, they would be good as internet penetration is still low and more purchase is happening in COD mode than online mode. But, if people feel it would be good to have presence now online so that they are ready when actually penetration rises, then my personal suggestion would be to have enough cash to be able to sustain until then.

For some time, people willing to enter e-commerce have been asking us if they should have wapsite or an app, we have been advising them to have wapsite now and apps soon as in long run leaving either will be a wrong decision.

What do you think about e-commerce state in India? I would love to see your comments…

(via GigaOm)

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