“There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen” (by Vladimir Lenin) epitomizes 2020 and the change that it has brought about.
Things which could not be imagined previously are now routine. From wearing masks regularly & frequent use of sanitizers to not meeting co-workers for 12 months, things have changed and how. Ecommerce was no exception and saw 2020 as a pivotal point in the journey.
Being stuck at home because of the pandemic resulted in a systemic behaviour change. People who would usually go out to get their groceries and essentials were now relying on deliveries. People were more open to trying out different types of home deliveries and also other ecommerce services. Usually driving trials is a big part of marketing spends and this year people were trying out ecommerce services themselves.
Driven by consumers going digital, a lot of businesses also went digital. Smaller companies took the stage by going online with their business. Even the local convenience stores and kirana shops did not stay out of the trend. As the world slowly starts getting on its feet in 2021, this is one trend we expect to see continuing in the coming years.
Market reports suggest that ecommerce penetration in India is slated to increase from 4-5% currently to over 10% in the next five years. My sense is that this would only be accelerated and India could see crossing the 10% mark sooner than five years. This would be driven by multiple trends coming together.
On one hand, you have established business houses looking at digital commerce seriously. On the other hand, newer models of commerce like reselling, social commerce are ensuring that the next set of 400 million users are using digital commerce. In parallel, there is a clear trend of small businesses going digital. All put together this trend is only getting accelerated.
With digital becoming mandatory for a business’ growth, there has been a change in how businesses are being conducted online. The focus has now shifted to features and products that help businesses maintain smooth operations such as secure online payment processes, faster and safer shipping methods.
One fastest-growing trend we saw in 2020 was democratizing entrepreneurship. The economic slowdown resulted in people looking for alternative means of earning, giving a push to the already growing sector of online selling and online reselling. We heard the word ‘homepreneurs’ a lot this year, with many people starting businesses from the comfort of their homes.
Popularity for companies that allow businesses to create online stores soared. Offering easier options at creating online stores helped local businesses and stores shift online and continue serving their customers. Hyperlocal became the new shipping mantra for groceries and essential goods. With small homepreneurs and kirana stores becoming our top users, looking for simpler ways to go digital.
There is also a greater emphasis on learning and teaching as companies wade through the unchartered waters of the digital world. Online courses, live sessions, one-on-one mentorship saw a huge boost during the lockdown. For smaller companies, quickly growing their business became a matter of survival.
With the ecommerce market changing and growing at a fast pace, the coming few years are going to see a lot of excitement. New business models, wider offerings and new entrants will push the limits and consumers are going to enjoy greater convenience and more choices than ever before.