E-commerce in Pakistan was mostly associated to online sales of smartphones, laptops and fashion attire and almost all online retail sales were engendered from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
But after Pakistan’s e-commerce sector held the country’s first ever ‘Black Friday’ in the last week of November the industry saw people ordering washing machines and televisions online with remits coming from far flung areas such as Tando Allahyar.
E-Commerce to Enter a New Phase in Pakistan
Major market players were of the view that one-third of the total Black Friday dealings were online which caused a major move in the purchaser practice from cash-on-delivery (CoD), which still accounts for almost 95% of Pakistan’s e-commerce that has already exceeded the $100 million landmark..
According to industry experts:
“E-commerce follows a four-phase growth cycle from infancy to maturity in any new region. Some say China has entered the third phase while India is close to finishing the second.”
On the other hand when it comes to Pakistan, many are of the view that the country’s e-commerce is still in its initial stages. But a successful Black Friday, received prodigious reaction from customers across Pakistan.
“Absolutely, Pakistan’s e-commerce is entering the second phase.”
Says Saman Javed, Head of Communications and PR at Daraz.
“One-third of the payments were online, which indicates a shift in consumers’ attitude who now trust online payment system.”
She also added that the response was further than the company’s beliefs. Though it did not reveal sales figures, Daraz said it presented Rs 132 million in discounts during Black Friday sales.
“We witnessed something we have never seen before.”
Shayaan Tahir of Homeshopping said.
“It will be even bigger next year.”
Homeshopping sold Rs 5.6 million worth of iPhones at more than one phone per minute during the first hour of its ‘White Friday’ sale before running out of stock.
Whereas iPhone deal on Daraz was sold out within a matter of no time and many consumers whined over being left out. Saman also said that the traffic was insane and not everyone could get what they needed.
Daraz revealed that it had record-breaking sales for fashion as well as home appliances brands. On the other hand, TVs were among highest selling categories at Homeshopping.
“Third-generation (3G) mobile Internet technology is reaching remote areas and adding new Internet users thus boosting our traffic.”
Tahir of Homeshopping said.
After the roll-out of 3G, Pakistan has been accumulating almost 1 million new subscribers to its mobile Internet base every month. The number of broadband users in the country reached to 23 million at the end of October, 2015.
“The country’s overall retail market is worth $40 billion but we are still 0.2% of that.”
Tahir further added.
The above mentioned e-commerce drifts and telecom indicators definitely indicate that e-commerce is ready to enter the second phase but still there is a long way to go before it becomes an important market.