Women ignite e-tailing in India

Women in India--especially those working--are fast becoming the most active shoppers via the internet in India as fashion becomes as important a category as electronics
Written by Rajiv Rao, Contributing Writer
Working woman
The working woman has become an important catalyst to the Indian e-tailing industry


Accel partners in India has just come out with a report that is going to garner a lot of respect for women, not for any other reason other than their pivotal role in turbo-charging India’s new, e-tail economy.

According to their research, women were responsible for US$500 million worth of goodies bought over the internet last year and while this may not appear to be a lot to e-commerce giants such as the US and China, that figure is slated to zoom five-fold to US$3 billion in the next three years out of a total of US$8.6 billion. At 26 percent sales, this apparently contrasts dramatically with the offline world dominated by men even in categories like fashion and retail.

Apparently a number of different factors influenced this boom in spending. The mobile phone was key in the ability of women to be able to shop with ease. At least 9 percent of domestic e-commerce traffic evidently came from mobiles, a staggering eight-fold jump from last year. Once mobile wallets and such things gain traction, those figures and bound to sky-rocket even further.

The biggest category drawing shoppers in droves was fashion. Apparently, e-commerce sales in this area doubled to US$559 million compared to the previous year and is estimated to go up to US$2.8 billion, the report says, bringing it on par with electronics and mobiles which have traditionally been the top draw. Working women who were also shoppers increased by close to fifty percent.

"Women are emerging as a strong customer base for us, having grown from contributing 20% to our overall sales two years back to now clocking 40% of sales. The offline fashion and apparel industry has been dominated by offerings for men. We expect women will contribute 50-55 % sales in the next two years as we increase our private-label presence," Mukesh Bansal, co-founder of Myntra, told Times Of India.

Considering that we are still in the infancy of the Indian e-commerce juggernaut—where online fashion is just 1 percent of the US$43 billion fashion, accessories and footwear market, just US$.2 percent of the US$45 billion jewelry market—you can imagine the frenzy of action in the online world in these areas in three or four years.

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