No turning back: Covid-led e-retail, payments growth here to stay even as in-store buying may stay muted

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Published: June 23, 2020 2:58 PM

Across the world, Coronavirus has led to a 20 per cent growth in revenues for digital commerce during the first quarter of 2020 from a year earlier.

Every business will now see the need to build a robust digital-driven delivery-capabilityAmong the world’s leading developing economies, India showed a sharper surge in preference for the online channel.

Covid-19 is fast changing the consumer sentiment when it comes to the way people shop and pay. The pandemic has triggered consumers to shift to digital commerce and payments by default and reduce the use of cash, according to a Mastercard’s global survey. With the growth in e-commerce buying, while 68 per cent of Indian respondents said there would be less in-store shopping ahead as well, a majority 77 per cent believed that the shift to contactless payments is here to stay. Moreover, 49 per cent said that they are planning to make more e-commerce purchases. The survey included responses from 6,750 people across 15 countries during April and May.

The shift in mindset, which is likely to be permanent, “sends a clear signal to merchants of all shapes and sizes that online shopping and touch-free transactions are essential to building the business and ensuring customer loyalty now and in the future,” said Sandeep Malhotra, Executive Vice President, Products & Innovation, Asia Pacific, Mastercard. Across the world, Coronavirus has led to a 20 per cent growth in revenues for digital commerce during the first quarter of 2020 from a year earlier, according to the Salesforce Shopping Index.

Also read: Amid China boycott calls, govt mandates GeM sellers to mention products’ Country of Origin

After surviving over five weeks under lockdown delivering only essential goods and services, the e-commerce sector led by companies including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, others has recovered by more than 90 per cent vis-à-vis the pre-lockdown number of orders, according to an analysis by SaaS-based e-commerce platform Unicommerce. The full recovery of e-commerce orders is likely to happen by the end of June. Interestingly, among the world’s leading developing economies such as China, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, India showed a sharper surge in preference for the online channel, according to another recent study by Facebook India and Boston Consulting Group. Across multiple categories such as household care, personal care, fresh food and packaged food, e-commerce adoption looks higher than the other five countries, the study titled Turn the Tide added.

However, amid Covid, the e-commerce sector is increasingly getting crowded with traders’ body CAIT, FMCG company Patanjali also looking to join the fray even as JioMart has already launched its services beginning with grocery. Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms has raised  over Rs 168,818 crore in just 58 days since Facebook’s investment on April 22, 2020.

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