根据毕马威会计事务所（KPMG）和印度互联网及移动通信协会（Internet and Mobile Association of India，IAMAI）的联合报告，印度电子商务市场在2013年的规模约为1,300亿美元。与中国电子商务市场的3,000亿美元相比，该数值相对较低，不过考虑到印度仍然有很多的增长潜力，这也是个很可观的数字了。
Temasek Holdings, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund with a $180 billion investment portfolio, is betting big on the future of India’s e-commerce. It recently invested in the Indian e-tailerSnapdeal with the expectation that the volume of transactions in that country’s burgeoning e-commerce market will increase by a factor of at least six over the next three to four years.
That’s no small vote of confidence in India’s e-commerce potential. Temasek was an early investor in China’s Alibaba, an e-commerce titan whose annual transactions today exceed $250 billion, or more than Amazon and eBay combined. It likes Snapdeal because the company uses a similar model.
“India has huge opportunity,” says Praveen Sengar, an analyst at Gartner who is based in Singapore. “But logistics is the biggest challenge for the Indian market and significant investment will go into developing a network covering tier 1 and 2 cities.”
India’s e-commerce market was around $13 billion in 2013, according to a joint report by KPMG and the Internet and Mobile Association of India, or IAMAI. That’s a relatively small number compared to China’s $300 billion, but it’s still a substantial figure with plenty of room for growth.
In India’s favor is the fact that the country’s digital payments industry is expected to expand at a rate of 40 percent to reach $20 billion by the end of this year, according to IAMAI, and it has one of the youngest online populations, with 15 to 24-year-olds making up the fastest growing segment.
“Smartphone penetration across the country and the increasingly mobile-first culture will offset the relative lack of reliable Internet connectivity,” says Shiv Putcha, an IDC analyst focused on consumer mobility and gaming and based in Mumbai.
At present India is transitioning from what is called an inventory-based model of e-commerce, where e-tailers sell a single product or brand stocked in their warehouse, to a marketplace model where a platform brings buyers and sellers together. The marketplace model is considered to be less capital intensive, generating more (and earlier) profits for shareholders.
In India, the leaders of the marketplace approach are Flipkart, Snapdeal, Myntra, and the recently arrived Amazon.
“Flipkart definitely stands out with broader market coverage, presence in multiple categories, repeat buyers and consistent orders,” Sengar says.
Bangalore-based Flipkart, which was founded by two former Amazon executives, started by selling books, but has since branched out into 14 categories including lifestyle, healthcare, and accessories. Earlier this year it acquired Myntra, a fashion portal also based in Bangalore, with hopes that the move will help it dominate apparel e-tailing in India.