E-commerce Industry in India

Growth of Ecommerce Industry in India – Infographic

  • Propelled by rising smartphone penetration, the launch of 4G networks and increasing consumer wealth, the Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow to US$ 188 billion by 2025.
  • E-commerce is increasingly attracting customers from Tier 2 and 3 cities, where people have limited access to brands but have high aspirations.
  • With the increase in awareness about the benefits of online trading, there has been a significant rise in investment in E-commerce business. Hand in hand with offline trading, many established businesses, e.g. Shoppers Stop or Lifestyle, have setup online transaction channels.
  • Earlier food and grocery were never thought of as items for online trading. However, with the change of working habits, and consumers opting for adaptability and convenience, there are now innumerable small and large E-commerce companies selling provisions and food items like Grofers, BigBasket, etc.
  • Indian E-commerce industry is in a position to sustain itself


  • The e-commerce retail market is estimated to be worth US$ 12 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) terms as of 2016.
  • Electronics is currently the largest segment in e-commerce in India with a share of 47 per cent and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 43 per cent by 2020.
  • The apparel segment has the second highest share of 31 per cent in the e-commerce retail industry.
  • Currently, there are 1-1.2 million transactions per day in e-commerce retailing.




The e-commerce has transformed the way business is done in India. The Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow to US$ 200 billion by 2026 from US$ 38.5 billion as of 2017.. The value of e-commerce market is expected to cross US$ 50 billion by 2018.

Much growth of the industry has been triggered by increasing internet and smartphone penetration. The ongoing digital transformation in the country is expected to increase India’s total internet user base to 829 million by 2021 (59 per cent of total population), from 373 million (28 per cent of population) in 2016, while total number of networked devices in the country are expected to grow to two billion by 2021, from 1.4 billion in 2016.

Market Size

Total online spending, inclusive of domestic and cross border shopping, is expected to increase by 31 per cent year-on-year to Rs 8.76 trillion (US$ 135.8 billion) by 2018. Cross border shopping by Indians touched Rs 58,370 crore (US$ 9.1 billion) in 2016, and is expected to by 85 per cent year-on-year in 2017. The top 3 countries preferred by Indians for cross-border shopping in 2016 were USA (14%), UK (6%) and China (5%).

The Indian consumer internet market is expected to grow by 44 per cent year-on-year to touch US$ 65 billion in 2017, up from US$ 45 billion in 2016. Online travel agents account for the largest market share (70 per cent) in the internet consumer market, while the remaining 30 per cent is occupied by horizontal e-tailing, fashion, furniture, grocery, hotel, food tech, cab aggregators, education technology, and alternative lending among others.

The internet industry in India is likely to double to reach US$ 250 billion by 2020, growing to 7.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with the number of mobile internet users growing to about 650 million and that of high-speed internet users reaching 550 million.5 About 70 per cent of the total automobile sales in India, worth US$ 40 billion, are expected to be digitally influenced by 2020 as against US$ 18 billion in 2016.

Investments/ Developments

Some of the major developments in the Indian e-commerce sector are as follows:

  • Fynd a fashion e-commerce company closed its series of C round of funding at US$ 3.4 million with participation from IIFL Seed Ventures, Venture Catalyst and Google.
  • Amazon invested Rs 6,200 crore (US$ 1 billion) in e-commerce arm in India during calendar year 2017.
  • Venture Capital (VC)-backed firms in India raised a record US$ 9.6 billion of fresh capital between January-September 2017, which is more than twice the amount of capital raised during the same period in the previous year.
  • Blackbuck, an online freight aggregator operated by Zinka Logistics Solutions Pvt Ltd, has raised Rs 50 crore (US$ 7.68 million) in venture debt from InnoVen Capital.
  • BankBazaar, a financial marketplace start-up in India, raised US$ 30 million in a funding round led by Experian Plc, a credit rating agency based in UK, taking the company’s total funding to US$ 110 million.
  • Gozefo.com, a Bengaluru based used furniture and appliances platform, has raised Rs 60 crore (US$ 9 million) in Series B funding from Sequoia Capital India, Helion Venture Partners and Beenext Pte. Ltd.

Government initiatives

Since 2014, the Government of India has announced various initiatives namely, Digital India, Make in India, Start-up India, Skill India and Innovation Fund. The timely and effective implementation of such programs will likely support the e-commerce growth in the country. Some of the major initiatives taken by the government to promote the e-commerce sector in India are as follows:

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to allow “inter-operability” among Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) such as digital wallets, prepaid cash coupons and prepaid telephone top-up cards.
  • Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley has proposed various measures to quicken India’s transition to a cashless economy, including a ban on cash transactions over Rs 300,000 (US$ 4,655.1), tax incentives for creation of a cashless infrastructure, promoting greater usage of non-cash modes of payments, and making Aadhaar-based payments more widespread.
  • The Government of India launched a e-commerce portal called TRIFED and an m-commerce portal called ‘Tribes India’ which will enable 55,000 tribal artisans get access to international markets.

Road Ahead

The e-commerce industry been directly impacting the micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME) in India by providing means of financing, technology and training and has a favourable cascading effect on other industries as well. The total size of e-Commerce industry (only B2C e-tail) in India is expected to reach US$ 101.9 billion by 2020.

Technology enabled innovations like digital payments, hyper-local logistics, analytics driven customer engagement and digital advertisements will likely support the growth in the sector. With the increase in the number of electronic payment gateways and mobile wallets, it is expected that by the year 2020, cashless transaction will constitute 55 per cent of the online sales. The growth in e-commerce sector will also boost employment, increase revenues from export, increase tax collection by ex-chequers, and provide better products and services to customers in the long-term.

Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.0155 as on January 04, 2018

References: Media Reports, Press Information Bureau (PIB), Union Budget 2017-18

Note: 1- According to a report by global payments firm Worldpay; 2- According to a report by Cisco; 3-According to report by Paypal; 4- As per a report by RedSeer Analysis; 5- as per the report ‘The $250B Digital Volcano’ by TiE and BCG; 6- as per a joint report by Bain&Company and Facebook




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