March 20, 2014

It's Only Up From Here

While the rest of the world is still trying to figure out how to balance the online and offline worlds, e-commerce is making significant strides in India as the fastest growing segment industry-wide. With the help of new reforms allowing foreign retailers to enter India's market, we will see a major push for new international brands making headway into Asia's third largest economy.

photo via TechCrunch

E-tailers like Flipkart have recently hit $1 billion in gross merchandise value making it not only way ahead of its target date but the largest retailer of mobile phones. While they specialize in the likes of everything from consumer electronics to books, clothing, and apparel, their success has sparked the possible emergence into furniture later this year. Not to mention, Flipkart will also begin delivering packages for its competitors via its eKart Logistics services which is much like what Amazon has done in the US.

Despite, India's fashion industry is among the fastest growing sector with an expected growth from $60 to $100 million over the next four years making it a hot destination for many new companies to open up shop. Brands like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart all have their eye on India's online marketplace. Since they had to put their brick and mortar store expansion on hold, Walmart has specific plans to launch a model much like that of Amazon and eBay with a direct online to consumer approach instead.

photo via live mint

Not to mention UK fashion based brands, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridges are about to make their debut via the online retailer

Both Swedish power players H&M and Ikea are looking to break out into the Indian market as well but by taking a more traditional method via opening physical stores. While this route is much more challenging, once their applications are approved and given the nod by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, we're betting they won't waste much time moving in.

Samsung's huge presence in India has led to Apple's plans to open up small, neighborhood shops via their distributors Redington and Ingram Micro in areas where there is high disposable income. By reintroducing the iPhone 4, Apple hopes to gain market share by offering a phone that costs much less than the current models available from its competitors Samsung and Sony. While they may be a bit late to the game, better late than never.

Whether it be fashion, furniture, or smartphones, India's e-commerce is booming allowing for new leaders to take precedence. While Flipkart is making some serious moves as well as the expansion of new international brands, it is causing other Indian e-tailers like to launch new initiatives, like the first exclusive online wholesale site. Rather than making huge investments via brick and mortar stores, many are taking an online approach as a means to test out the market and experiment with new concepts. 

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