Top Story


Home >> Digital >> Article

Guest Column: Demonetisation brought value consciousness amongst shoppers: Swati Bhargava,

Font Size   16
Guest Column: Demonetisation brought value consciousness amongst shoppers: Swati Bhargava,

Swati Bhargava – Co-founder,, on the challenges and growth of e-commerce and how India is increasingly getting comfortable with online shopping.

The growth rate of Indian e-commerce has been exemplary in the past 3-4 years. The annual expansion rate of Indian e-commerce is now an impressive 51%, a number that is well ahead of China and Japan. With exponential growth in this sector, India's e-commerce revenue is expected to go from $30 billion in 2016 to $120 billion in 2020. Although with a few ups and downs, 2016 was a year of both growth and opportunity.

Increased penetration of e-commerce can be attributed to advancements in technology and awareness. While the introduction of 4G services gave people access to high-speed internet, an increase of social media usage on digital devices has also raised awareness regarding online shopping amongst users. A decline in prices of subscription based services is also a factor that has caused e-commerce to flourish. Today, Indians are using the internet to order everything from apparel to groceries, something that no one could fathom even a decade ago. E-commerce players have slowly and steadily removed the skepticism that plagued online shopping from the minds of consumers and this has made a world of difference. Furthermore, the growth in smartphone users also sky-rocketed, making m-commerce an arena of growth for e-commerce players. It is projected that 70% of e-commerce transactions will soon be carried out through smartphones and tablets.

Online travel portals saw colossal growth in 2016, including railway tickets, car rentals, hotel bookings and flight tickets. Herein, around 70% revenue has been generated through domestic ticket booking. Users are more likely to visit online sites such as the Indian Railway website to acquire information and get discounts. Good discount options have attracted consumers to a number of online shopping categories, apparel being the fastest growing sector overall. Apart from apparel and accessories, consumer electronics and computer electronics have been a fast growing sub-category in 2016.

Online shopping portals, old and new, have fared well in 2016. While, Flipkart and Snapdeal continued to enjoy their majority sales in the electronics and mobile phones category; fashion & lifestyle as a category gained a lot of momentum. E-commerce sites like Limeroad, Voonik and Wooplr enjoyed a growing customer base whereas pioneers such as Myntra and Jabong continued to make hay consistently. We also saw a surge in the daily consumables and groceries category in 2016.

The most rapid winds of change blew towards the end of the year when a massive cash crunch, caused by the sudden demonetisation announcement, shook the nation. Up until then, about 70% of e-commerce orders were paid through Cash on Delivery (CoD), making it the most preferred payment method. While CoD suffered a major hit, online shopping giants such as, Flipkart, Shopclues, and Snapdeal saw an onslaught of order cancellations. Further, e-commerce players recorded a 30% decline in CoD orders post the ban on Rs 500 and 1000 notes on November 8. Demonetisation also brought a lot of value consciousness amongst shoppers. Shopping via Cashback sites became the most effective way to Save & Earn because of a cash crunch. At CashKaro we saw a 50%+ increase in the GMV driven to partner retailers and a number of online shoppers earning Cashback via CashKaro in December vs. November.

All said and done, the e-commerce industry is likely to gain increased momentum in 2017, albeit demonetisation. The multiple payments options, engaging content, attractive discounts, and excellent customer service will continue to drive e-commerce in India towards newer horizons of massive reach and revenue.

(The author is Co-founder,

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of


Kranti Gada joined the family business at Shemaroo in 2006 after a successful stint of over two years in marketing at Pepsi Co. She has been associated with the company for 12 years.

Exchange4media interacted with Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President and Head (Fashion) , IMG Reliance Pvt. Ltd on seamless brands integrations planned for Lakme Fashion Week, walking tall despite blazing trails like GST, demonetization and being a part of the larger cultural space

Their strategy to educate the consumers to make well informed decisions at all stages has worked out well.

Bobby Pawar, MD, CCO - South Asia, Publicis India, talks about his idea of chilling out

Launches third phase of TVC campaign ‘Think it. Done’

Based in Mumbai, Usha has nearly two decades of experience in the Indian media and entertainment sector and will serve as a strategic advisor to H+K’s diverse portfolio of clients with a special empha...

Report based on media channel data in 96 countries and detailed findings from the world‘s key ad markets, which between them account for approximately two-thirds of the value of global advertising tra...