2013 review Part II: M-commerce story in India

In 2010, e-commerce players like Olx India and eBay managed to bring mobile commerce into India with various apps. 2013 then became one of the most crucial years for the mobile commerce scene in the country with increasing smartphone phone penetration rates and cheap data plans.

E27 takes a look at how m-commerce shaped up in 2013 and what consumers and investors can expect in the space in the New Year.

The buzzing m-commerce space

The m-commerce space in India has been buzzing with action from the very beginning on 2013. The year witnessed e-commerce players such as Amazon, Flipkart, Homeshop18 and Yatra launching mobile apps to keep up with the increasing traction coming in from mobile devices.

Nikhil Rungta, Chief Business Officer, Yebhi.com

Nikhil Rungta, Chief Business Officer, Yebhi.com

“One of the most important trends was the mobile traffic coming from non-metro cities to e-commerce websites,” said Nikhil Rungta, Chief Business Offier, Yebhi.com. “Online shoppers from tier II and II cities shop enthusiastically through their mobile phones. Since the mobile customer base of the country is large and well established, the low internet connectivity can be overcome by use of mobile internet.”

According to a recent report by IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) the number of mobile internet users in October 2013 was 110 billion, out of which 25 million users were from rural India.

Rungta shared that Yebhi received 15 to 20 percent of traffic from mobile devices, and this converted to more than two percent contribution in sales. Yebhi also expects m-commerce to contribute to over 35 percent of traffic and more than 25 percent of revenues in 2014.

Along with deeper internet penetration, lack of brand outlets is one of the major reasons for increasing traction from rural areas.

Sharat Dhall, President, Yatra.com

Sharat Dhall, President, Yatra.com

“Keeping in line with this growing trend, we at Yatra.com launched our mobile apps this year and around 12-15 per cent of our transaction volumes came in from this segment,” said Sharat Dhall, President, Yatra.com.

Dhall shared that user friendly mobile platforms will be best positioned to garner maximum market share. If players manage to create efficient mobile security for their applications and WAP sites, m-commerce will witness exponential growth. Yatra expects 30 percent of its bookings to come from their mobile application in 2014.

Read also: Indian C2C site OLX claims 6M downloads for its mobile app

While m-commerce has been flourishing, only existing e-commerce players have been seen creating mobile presence. Dedicated m-commerce apps or websites are yet to make their way to India. However, with the increasing amount of time spent on mobile devices m-commerce is bound to witness a northward trend.

To make 2014 even more conducive for the growth of m-commerce, here are a few tips that would help existing and future m-commerce players.

Go beyond typical m-commerce: Just making the products available online and creating payment options will not give consumers the needed boost. Players need to attract consumers with added features such as product scanning, integration with social networks and access to consumer generated product reviews.

Targeted approach: Mobile presence gives access to a huge amount of data that can work wonders. For instance, when a consumer uses the mobile platform, players can keep a track of their choices and wishes and offer them relevant products.

Overcome the language barrier: Smart phones now come under the affordability bracket and thus have users across age groups. To make sure that they are not missing out on potential consumers, m-commerce players need to have alternate language interface in which users can operate.

Go beyond the boundaries: M-commerce in India is still in its growing space and thus has a lot of opportunities. Players need to get out of their comfort zone and tap niches so as to become leaders in the space.

Read also: Year-end Special: 19 funding, M&A milestones in Singapore 2013

Featured Image Credit: D. Hammonds / Shutterstock