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Total potential of B2C e-retail exports is $26 bn: Study
May '17
The total potential for B2C e-commerce exports is estimated at approximately $26 billion, of which $3 billion can be achieved in the next three years from 16 product categories, according to a recent study. The study highlights the need for the government to recognise ecommerce retail exports as an industry and work towards removing regulatory barriers.

The study titled ‘Exploring Potential of E-Commerce for Retail Exports of Indian MSMEs in Manufacturing Sector’ has been prepared by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Indian Institute of Foreign Trade-Centre for MSME Studies and Apex Cluster Development Services. S N Tripathi, additional secretary & development commissioner, ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises, Government of India, unveiled the study at a discussion organised by three bodies.

The report, supported by eBay India, involves an in-depth survey on the major MSME clusters across the country. The survey brings forth limitations pertaining to ICT infrastructure; e-payment and logistics across MSME sectors. It also highlights reasons like bandwidth and network restrictions, lack of availability of skilled workforce, privacy and security concerns and inaccessibility to finance amongst other reasons that are collectively dissuading Indian MSMEs from adopting modern retail practices.

The study provides MSMEs with the requisite information to undertake e-commerce retail exports while exploring the untapped potential of the international B2C e-commerce market by leveraging the digital platform to bridge the gap between buyers and sellers. It also aims to intensify the global reach of Indian MSMEs and enhance the export competitiveness of ‘Made in India’ products.

Tripathi said that there was a need to reduce the distance between the producer and consumer and e-commerce could help in bridging this gap. Besides, it would also reduce the cost of products. He added that today Indian manufacturers were producing locally for global markets and the study revealed that manufacturers were taking advantage of technology to reach global markets.

Alluding to various initiatives of the government of India such as ‘Zero Defect Zero Effect’, Tripathi said that the MSMEs should take advantage of schemes to improve the quality of their products and scale up their business. He added that the government was working towards improving ease of doing business and addressing various challenges faced by MSMEs.

In his Special Address, JV Patil, additional DGFT, director general of foreign trade, ministry of commerce & industry, Government of India, said that there was a need to facilitate movement of products through e-commerce. Referring to MEIS, he said that it provides benefits on various products and exporters should leverage it. Citing the success story of an online store, eShakti, which caters to people across the globe including US and Canada, Patel said that e-commerce provides immense business potential.

Sanjay Bhatia, president, FICCI-CMSME, stated, "There is no way we can undermine the contribution of MSMEs to our economy and it is in fact very important that we continue to explore synergies to integrate this very important sector with the latest emerging trends. E-commerce is one such trend which is massively changing the mechanism of global businesses. Online retail segment has seen tremendous growth globally over the past couple of decades. Even though this trend has caught up recently in India but the exponential growth has certainly been striking."

The study emphasises on creating synergies with numerous export promotion programs and schemes by the government and their agencies, which will help in on-boarding large number of sellers and more exports per seller. The study also highlights policy recommendations towards integrating ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’, which will enable access to new geographies and market diversification for the Indian MSMEs. (KD)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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