With 23 million internet users, 134 million cellular subscribers and 17% smartphone penetration, E-commerce has become the most popular internet trend in Pakistan
Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) refers to the trading, purchasing and selling of goods using electronic gadgets and internet. It is the most convenient way of shopping with 24-hour accessibility, worldwide reach and efficient consumer-retailer correspondence. Since the arrival of internet, business world has changed significantly, it has also enabled the consumers to interact for different businesses by one click.
During the last couple of years the concept of internet being undeniably a legitimate and profitable sales channel is gaining strength and subsequently it has given energy to the general perception about online shopping websites to be as real as any physically present brick & mortar shop out there in the market. As popularity for E-commerce nurtured in Pakistan and a number of online shopping websites popped up, Pakistan started experimenting with other models of payments as well, which provided the convenience for job.
The credit card model could obviously not work in Pakistan as most people do not have credit cards, therefore, online payment through bank account transfers as well as call-order shopping forums were taken as the logical solutions. Even now when the number of credit card owners has multiplied, most are inherently wary of giving their information online. Furthermore, the younger generation, which constitutes the majority of the targeted market, still do not have access to credit cards. As per a recent research it has been found that in Pakistan tendency to trust others is very low as compared to countries like China, USA, and Japan etc. This is another major reason of slow growth rate in the online shopping industry but with the emergence of above mentioned online stores the trend is now changing.
[pull_quote_left]During the last couple of years, E-commerce has experienced its boom globally, with the ever-growing awareness and easy availability of internet access to a larger audience[/pull_quote_left]
Other reasons behind this low growth rate includes low internet penetration, less knowledge of computer usage and lack of trust on online portals. Despite everything, the trend of moving towards online shopping is increasing very quickly with the passage of time. A 12% growth has been observed since 2012 towards the online shopping in the Karachi city which indicates the vast potential of growth in this area.
[pull_quote_center]Online shopping is new in Pakistan but its quick growth has made different businesses to think on getting an online portal for catering its customers[/pull_quote_center]
With 23 million internet users, 134 million cellular subscribers and 17% smartphone penetration, E-commerce has become the most popular internet trend in Pakistan. The arrival of 3G/4G has also made internet more easily accessible in the country. E-commerce is slowly, but steadily, growing in Pakistan; experts have recently estimated its market size in Pakistan to be $25-30 million a year. Interestingly, a large chunk of such online business is carried out on the cash-on-delivery (COD) model, which involves paying for goods when they are delivered at the buyer’s doorstep.
[pull_quote_right]As popularity for E-commerce nurtured in Pakistan and a number of online shopping websites popped up, Pakistan started experimenting with other models of payments as well, which provided the convenience for job[/pull_quote_right]
Among the most popular Pakistani retailers with an E-commerce based business model is tcsconnect.com – a project of a well-known courier company named TCS that enjoys a reputation for being the most reliable and efficient working courier service in Pakistan. With 700 centres throughout the country, it provides a resourceful online shopping experience for famous brands for almost all kind of products ranging from clothing to electronic gadgets. Other equally famous online retailers include Daraz.pk, Laylo.pk, Kaymu.pk, ShopHive.com and Azmalo.pk which provide a never ending variety of products on a single platform.
[pull_quote_left]The introduction of online stores such as Daraz.pk, Kaymu, Shophive, Olx and a few more have increased the credibility of online shopping in Pakistan. They have provided an ease of access to a wide range of products with free home delivery[/pull_quote_left]
When it comes to the love for food, people of Pakistan are no less than any other food loving nations in the world. Recent online shopping advancement has provided convenience to this particular sort of market as well. One of the most popular food ordering websites include EatOye.pk that has an average of 200,000 visitors every day and it provides access to more or less a thousand local restaurants. One can conveniently, make reservations for lunch or dinner at any desired food place while sitting in the comfort of their home, office or car. FoodPanda.pk is another well-reputed online food portal which offers over 28 different cuisines from around 750 restaurants in Islamabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Karachi and other major cities of Pakistan and a convenient home-delivery service, most of the time, it being free. Further, KhaoPiyo.pk, SuperMeal.pk and several other akin portals facilitates their consumers in a similar manner.
Online shopping websites such as olx.com.pk allows the users to buy or sell almost all sort of new or even used stuff including furniture, cars and electronic gadgets. PakWheels.pk offers one of the best deals for buying and selling of cars and motorbikes from all around the country.
Online shopping is new in Pakistan but its quick growth has made different businesses to think on getting an online portal to cater customers’ needs. The major reasons behind its quick success are ease, convenience, comfort, time saving, cost saving and quick delivery as compared to the traditional shopping. It has been observed that online shopping has a quick growth rate in countries like China, Russia, Japan and Brazil. Whereas Pakistan being a developing country has a slower growth rate of e-commerce, still it has much more potential for e-commerce growth then the developed countries.
By: Rana Junaid Naseer