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India ecommerce to grow 15x

News, 08 May 2015

NEW DELHI: Bricks-and-mortar retailers are fighting back against the onward march of Indian ecommerce, which a new study says will grow 15-fold over the next 15 years.

A report by investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts that ecommerce will account for 2.5% of the country's GDP in 2030, by when its value will have leapt from the current figure of $20bn to $300bn.

It cited the availability of affordable smartphones and improving infrastructure alongside "a propensity to transact online" as factors driving this growth.

And the arrival of 300m new online shoppers during this period will make e-tailing specifically the largest online segment.

The current growth of ecommerce businesses is being driven by discounting, supported by significant cash injections by external investors.

Now Big Bazaar, India's largest hypermarket chain, is pledging to match the prices on offer at its online rivals, as it plans to introduce an app that will allow shoppers to compare prices at online and offline retailers.

"We are launching a price-match offer where if you shop from us and anybody else is selling cheaper than us at that moment, we will automatically give credits in your account – anything online or offline," explained chief executive Kishore Biyani.

At the same time, he professed himself unconcerned by ecommerce, arguing that multichannel retail was the future. "Traditional retailers doing multichannel is a bigger thing than pure online in any which way," he stated.

His online rivals were equally unconcerned about the new app. "I don't see anything innovative about it," said Radhika Aggarwal, cofounder and chief marketing officer at ShopClues. "It's a very 'been there, done that' kind of thing."

There was some measure of agreement, however, as he suggested offline retailers needed to increase their online presence and "start using online as a primary channel".

Snapdeal's response was that over the long term price would not be a differentiator: "convenience, value, access, service and experience together will be the key drivers."

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff