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Pakistan’s e-commerce industry to grow tremendously by 2020

Pakistan’s e-commerce industry will exceed ‘several hundred million dollars’ by 2020. Pakistanis are likely to spend ‘several hundred million dollars’ on online shopping as the country adopts digital technology. Tightened by smartphone penetration and digital payments solutions, the country’s e-commerce industry is anticipated to grow tremendously by 2020.

The lucrative impact of information and communication technologies can be seen with the phenomenal rise of ecommerce through websites such as daraz.pk, olx.com, zameen.com and pakwheels.com.

Many companies business had grown to the level at which it lacked capacity to compete. In this context the companies had to cut short the list of items on sale.

The business owners ascribed to the rapid expansion in e-commerce trends to the introduction of mobile broadband services in Pakistan. Telcos are providing banking services on mobile handsets through their mobile banking solutions.

Branchless banking transacted over Rs486 billion during October to December 2015. This was due to launch of mobile broadband services on 3G/4G LTE in 2014.

Financial institutions particularly are the favorites being early technology adopters of modern ICTs opportunities for transition from traditional book keeping to computer-based solutions.

Online banking, ATMs and mobile payment systems are some of the major banking services making full use of information and communication technologies.

Alongside online shopping and smartphones penetrating quickly around the world, the incursion of mobile sales would also have a clear-cut impact for Pakistani’s e-commerce market. They provide consumers capability to make purchases with extreme ease while they are `on the go’ or when they are surrounded by comfort of their own home.

Mobile took about 12 percent of online spending which was equivalent to about US $ 303 billion in the United States.

By 2020, mobile is expected to double online sales to US$632 billion worldwide and will account for 45 percent of all orders being placed on online stores.

Pakistan being a part of this mobile shopping uprising will also have an excellent impact for Pakistani’s e-commerce market.

If someone sees at websites present in Pakistani interwebs from mobile devices, one would notice that majority of them are responsive and some of them even have their own dedicated applications such as Daraz.

The rapid growth witnessed in mobile wallet solutions such as EasyPay in Pakistan.

Smartphones are still used for the most part to browse for items. Also laptops and desktop computers provide more descriptions and allow users to see the image more clearly.

Purchasing is not being done in high frequencies from mobile devices as they are in the traditional sense, indicating that there is still some time before adoption is slowly accepted on mobile devices as well.

In the future, with the maturing of 3G/4G telecoms services and increased wireless coverage in Pakistan, along with the affordability of smartphones, e-commerce will definitely rise to greater stature.

E-commerce industry in Pakistan cannot be compared with the industries in Europe. Europe alone generated 250.2 billion euros in 2017 in retail commerce sales and United Kingdom shared 15 percent. This contribution is the biggest e-commerce market in the entire Europe.

Pakistan industry is itself is growing though and has huge potential to grow further. E-commerce industry in Pakistan cannot be measured accurately. We can just elucidate for popular names in online shopping, clothing, food, travel retail stores but we are unable to grab the whole market’s true picture.

INTERNET USERS

The Internet itself, according to statistics; only 18 percent of the population in Pakistan has internet access. This means there are 360 million Internet users in Pakistan.

UK has 92 percent of the population using the Internet, UK’s current population is 65.14 million (2015). Total current internet users in the UK are 59.9 million; Pakistan’s internet population is six times bigger than UK comparatively.

This exhibit Pakistan has huge potential in ecommerce which is yet to be discovered.

3G/4G users reached 32 million in Pakistan during the last year. Mobile internet usage is also expected to be doubled in the next 3 years.

The most common barrier to e-commerce growth is infrastructure, e-commerce infrastructure involves almost everything including; Internet, hardware, software, websites, payments systems and delivery mechanisms. Regrettably Pakistan is lacking in everything regarding infrastructure.

Not everything is being sold online there is a lot of gap in the market where people wish to buy from. Increase in Websites and Stores would increase in overall industry.

Secure Payment systems that can be used online for instant purchases in another barrier. Not everyone has credit or debit card to make an online payment in Pakistan. People even they have it they are unwilling to use it online for security reasons.

Alternative payment systems like Jazzcash and Easy pay has been developed specifically focusing on online shopping and ecommerce. These systems can serve as incentive for ecommerce growth in Pakistan. There is still need for better payment systems that can be used by wider audience.

The most detrimental factor is the lack of trust in stakeholders and consumer behavior of Pakistani market. On buying side or selling side there is always a trust shortfall.

Businesses think that when we will sell online, there would be lot of problems in dealing with customers things like; payments, returns, frauds, bad debts and small number of buyers make them revisit their idea of opening an online store.

Even then Pakistan still has huge market potential. E-commerce can flourish in Pakistan at an unrivalled rate. This needs a careful survey of the situation.

Changing consumer manners cannot be done so quickly, it would take some time to build trust among stakeholders including consumers and businesses.

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