Business India ×
  Magazine:
Policy

Published on: June 17, 2020, 3:56 p.m.
Elusive policy
  • A policy remains undelivered

By Rakesh Joshi. Executive Editor, Business India
I

ndia has recently recorded the sharpest surge in e-commerce adoption across multiple categories compared to other markets, including China, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. These are the findings of a study by Facebook India and Boston Consulting Group. Yet, the country does not have an e-commerce policy and the government is still working on one.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) will soon put yet another draft e-commerce policy in the public domain to seek views and comments before giving it the shape of a final policy. Last year too, the government released a draft national e-commerce policy proposing a legal and technological framework for restrictions on cross-border data flow, and also laid out conditions for businesses regarding the collection or processing of sensitive data locally and storing it abroad.

Several foreign e-commerce firms had raised concerns over some points in the draft pertaining to data. Also, the government was preoccupied with the general elections that followed.

With e-commerce a fast emerging sector now owing to the social distancing norms being put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic, it is now recognised that the country should have a definite, clear and coherent policy which is in tune with the requirements of society and service providers. Guruprasad Mohapatra, secretary, DPIIT, says it is difficult to predict where e-commerce will go in the next couple of years. The Covid-19 pandemic had led to unprecedented changes in consumer behaviour. 

Online buying

The Facebook-BCG study found that 33 per cent of respondents in India expect to buy household care products online in the next month compared to 19 per cent respondents in China, 18 per cent in Indonesia, 4 per cent in Brazil and 9 per cent in Thailand. The Philippines reported negative growth of 6 per cent in preference towards the e-commerce channel.

Similarly, for personal care, fresh food and packaged food categories, 44 per cent, 31 per cent and 34 per cent Indian respondents respectively led the table showing a maximum preference for online buying in comparison to the buyers in the said countries. For health supplements, 47 per cent of Indonesians expect to choose e-commerce routes followed by 43 per cent of respondents from India.

In addition, about 50 per cent of consumers expect to increase their e-commerce spend in the coming month even for traditionally offline categories like vitamins, supplements, personal care products, cosmetics and non-prescription medicines. Spending on health and hygiene is expected to increase by more than 40 per cent over the next six months.

Nimisha Jain, managing director and partner at BCG, says that these unprecedented shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviours will not be temporary. “Many will last longer and become more defining traits. Over 80 per cent of consumers will continue to practice social distancing and are bringing the outside inside, over 40 per cent are dialing up on health and wellness spends, e-commerce adoption has already advanced by two to three years, to name a few,” she added.

However, the report also found that 43 per cent respondents said that they plan to reduce the overall spend in the next six months. And more than half of them added that they will still buy a cheaper brand or a variant, while 54 per cent of respondents expect overall household income to reduce in the next six months.

Jain noted that only one out of six companies would come out stronger once this crisis is over, adding that players who are effectively capable of reinventing their value propositions, go-to-market plans and business models would be the ones that set themselves apart from the pack.

Mohapatra throws light on areas that require clarity. “So, the e-commerce policy firstly should lay down a very clear policy on what is data; what kind of data the e-commerce companies can use; how the citizens’ right of privacy can be protected; how the e-commerce data is being leveraged for other purposes, other commercial benefits accrue to the e-commerce data holder; how citizens like you and me can have access to those benefits.

“Secondly, there are a lot of counterfeit and inferior products and violation of various safety standards. How can these be taken care of, how can consumer rights be protected... We have now finalised a (draft) e-commerce policy; very soon, we will put it in the public domain,” he added.

E-commerce players will be hoping that this time around, the draft will take the shape of a final policy.

Don't miss this

Cover feature

Cash is king

Corporate India is looking at ways and means to shore up its funds. Monetising assets, reducing costs, or raising equity or debt are some of them

Focus

A new chapter

The New Education Policy opens doors for privatisation and growth of edtech

Corporate Report

Adding a regional flavour

Despite recent turbulence, basmati rice maker KRBL is on a strong growth path

Corporate Report

Silent dealmaker

Buying Lummus Technology is a boost for Haldia Petrochemicals

Our letter to you, once a week.
Register with The CSR Weekly for free!

E-MAGAZINE
Cash is king
The Covid vaccine race
On a Roll
FROM THIS ISSUE

Editorial

Technology

Energy

Pharmaceuticals

Government

Market News

Coronavirus Response

Roundup

Companies pour CSR money into the PM CARES Fund

Published on May 11, 2020, 11:20 a.m.

Donations qualify as CSR expenditure and are exempt from additional income tax payments

Healthcare

Partnerships define Flipkart, Walmart support in battle against the virus

Published on May 10, 2020, 5:16 p.m.

Millions of customers were invited to participate in social programmes directed at Coronavirus-related disruptions

Healthcare

Jindal Steel launches social projects in tribal belts to contain the virus

Published on May 1, 2020, 12:09 p.m.

These are prevention measures around pockets within which the company operates

Mobility

Associations and truck companies get together to provide relief to truck drivers

Published on April 26, 2020, 5:35 p.m.

With dhabas gradually opening up, the focus has shifted to initiatives like sanitisation of vehicles

Social Responsibility

Healthcare

Vatsalya Dental offers treatment to poor people in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

Published on Aug. 10, 2020, 12:27 a.m.

This initiative has given a new lease of life to over 2,500 children

Education

The TI India Citizenship programme aims to give back to the community

Published on Aug. 10, 2020, 12:24 a.m.

Employees have a rich volunteering culture – from monetary donations to committing their personal time

Education

WeiKFiELD goes beyond education

Published on Aug. 2, 2020, 7:59 a.m.

The company pairs its scholarship grants with a comprehensive mentoring programme

Skill Development

Kumar Urban Developments is promoting entrepreneurship

Published on Aug. 1, 2020, 1:44 p.m.

A ‘Training of Trainers’ programme will be the backbone for this initiative

Climate Change

Roundup

Best practices of human-elephant conflict management in India

Published on Aug. 11, 2020, 10:34 a.m.

Recent developments that you may have missed

Air Quality

Praj, ARAI join to clear the air

Published on Aug. 11, 2020, 9:26 a.m.

Much is expected from a new combination of complementary strengths in technology and application

Mobility

Whistledrive is saving money and the environment with its new electric cars

Published on Aug. 10, 2020, 9:01 a.m.

The benefits of driving electric vehicles are highest in nations which use fewer fossil fuels

Energy

SELCO focuses on energy programmes

Published on Aug. 1, 2020, 4:51 p.m.

The company concentrates on the energy nexus with critical needs like health, livelihood and education

Stay ahead of the times.
Register with The Climate Change Weekly for free!