The pandemic was a shot of adrenaline for global ecommerce. eMarketer projects that COVID-19 accelerated India’s ecommerce adoption by several years: Sales on the subcontinent will soar 25% this year to top $80 billion and will more than double from 2021 to 2025, hitting the $100 billion mark for the first time in 2023.
India’s gangbusters ecommerce growth is fueled by mcommerce, a steady increase in the number of digital buyers in the region, and new initiatives from key players.
India will be the second-fastest-growing economy in Asia-Pacific based on ecommerce sales this year behind the Philippines. Steady double-digit growth will continue through 2025.
More than 80% of retail ecommerce dollars will be spent via a mobile device this year in India, rising to almost 84% in 2025. Within the entire Asia-Pacific region, only China has a higher mcommerce share. Overall, retail mcommerce sales in India will reach $68.09 billion this year, making it the fourth-largest market in Asia-Pacific behind China, Japan, and South Korea.
India’s robust mcommerce share reflects the importance of using mobile devices to access the internet in a country where a majority of the population lives in rural areas that often lack the infrastructure for reliable broadband. eMarketer estimates more than 95% of internet users in India will use mobile internet at least once per month this year.
There will be 312.7 million digital buyers in India this year, up 47 million from 2020. Between 2022 and 2025, the country is expected to add close to 65 million more digital buyers.
More than one-tenth (12.2%) of the world’s digital buyers will live in India this year. For comparison, the US will be home to 8.4%.
India has such a large number of digital buyers due to its size: All told, they make up just 30.3% of the total population, more than 15 percentage points lower than the Asia-Pacific average. But there are also over 100 million more digital shoppers in India (consumers who browse, research, and compare products digitally, but don’t make a purchase) than digital buyers this year. That leaves plenty of room for growth, especially among smaller cities and more rural areas—provided internet connections improve and retailers find more ways to adapt to local shopping preferences.
Here’s how major ecommerce players are contributing to India’s ecommerce boom: