Guest Column: Scope of growth of e-commerce in the gaming sector
According to Milestone Interactive Group's Jayont R Sharma, factors such as internet penetration, service & delivery timelines, convenience, access & cash on delivery are aiding in the growth of the gaming sector
The Indian e-commerce industry has shown significant growth in recent years. The e-commerce market has grown at a CAGR of 34 per cent since 2009.
Within the e-commerce industry, the e-tailing segment has grown at the fastest CAGR of approximately 60 per cent. The gaming sector is all set to ride on this growth and will grow out of its categorisation as a niche within the next 2-3 years.
As the largest specialist e-tailer, Game4u.com differentiates from large horizontal players by offering specialised services and products such as our ‘team elite’ loyalty program, ‘replay’ (buy and sell used games), digital downloads and pre-order bonuses to attract customers to buy games online in India. We have made major investment in technology, infrastructure and manpower to be able to capitalise on the growth in e-commerce in the gaming industry.
Major e-commerce players and virtual markets have also realised the importance of gaming as a category and have dedicated teams to manage the category. Along with books and electronics gaming products are extensively marketed on homepages of various e-commerce megastores.
Factors contributing to the growth of the gaming sector
Several factors will contribute to the growth of e-commerce in the gaming sector:
· Internet Penetration: Internet penetration in India is in the range of 11 per cent (Source: Internet World Stats - 2013) as compared to world average of 34 per cent (Source: Internet World Stats - 2013). Gamers are typically earlier adopters of technology such as internet and mobile phones. An increase in internet penetration and internet-enabled mobile devices will further fuel growth in e-commerce in the gaming sector.
· Service and Delivery Timelines: We at Game4u.com are continually innovating to decrease delivery timelines to customers. Gamers are usually extremely impatient, especially in terms of new releases. We also provide day one delivery on preorders in major metros on almost all major releases. Such practices will further contribute to the growth of e-commerce in the category.
· Convenience: E-commerce provides gamers an option of buying a wider range of games from the comfort of their home. Game4u.com boasts the widest range of games and related accessories which are not available at any single retail outlet.
· Access: E-commerce provides gamers access to a wider range of games that may not be available at a single retail outlet close to their home. This is particularly true for Tier II and Tier III cities, where the local gaming retailers would just stock new releases and neglect other titles. We are not constrained by geographical distance and can deliver games to customers in small towns and remote locations using any one of our multiple logistics partners.
· Cash on Delivery (COD): Gamers who don’t own a credit/ debit card or have access to internet banking can pay via COD. This is typically a convenient option for gamers under the age of 18. We are continuously pushing our logistics partners to increase the number of pincodes to which they offer COD, increasing our reach to a vast majority of gamers who do not have access to any digital payment methods.
· Customer Friendly Policies: We have incorporated customer friendly policies such as pre-order price guarantees, easy refund and return procedures that go a long way towards building trust with gamers.
To sum it up
The e-commerce industry is growing at a tremendous pace. The gaming industry will ride on this growth to reach consumers who did not previously have access due to an absence of gaming retailers in his/ her locality or the retailer not stocking a wide range of games due to high holding costs. Typically, gamers are early adopters of technology and, therefore, higher internet penetration and proliferation of internet enabled mobile phones will have a positive impact on the segment.
Combined with short delivery timelines, release date deliveries, discounted prices, convenient payment options such as COD and customer friendly policies, e-commerce in the gaming category is surely set to boom within the next 2 to 3 years.
Jayont R Sharma is Chairman and CEO of Milestone Interactive Group.
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