Ecommerce in Emerging Markets
While the COVID-19 economy's headlines are dominated by e-commerce behemoths like Amazon, the news may be misleading. The giants have a little influence on everyday life in many parts of the globe. There are just 17 countries in the world where Amazon has online storefronts and warehouses. If you don't live in an area where Amazon's products are easily available, you'll have to pay a lot for and wait a long time for international shipping if you want to buy from the site.
Targeted geographic reach makes sense for the world's largest online retailers. In addition to financial costs, expanding internationally requires a significant amount of time and effort on the part of management. Because of the uncertain profits, the giants concentrate on the biggest markets. Investing here has the greatest potential for profit. The countries where Amazon has fulfillment centers make up 75% of the world's GDP, even though they only account for 10% of the world's population.
Isn't it true that the other 90% of countries are left out? With a total global GDP of over $20 trillion, these markets are larger than the United States, China, or India combined.
Electronic commerce serves as a means of economic development.
In many regions of the globe, the online market is still quite small. Economic growth may still be achieved via the use of online shopping. Businesses may access a wider audience, both domestically and internationally, via online sales. Supporting industries, including technology and payment service providers, are also creating new employment.
The COVID-19 epidemic has increased the number of people shopping online dramatically across the world. Nonetheless, this is only the beginning. In developing economies, there is still a lot of unmet demand for e-commerce. According to cross-country research, as wages grow, internet marketplaces may fill up quickly. Shoppers all across the world are likely to value the convenience of 24-hour online shopping with home delivery and a wide variety of products.
It's important for homegrown entrepreneurs to play a big part in e-commerce.
Entrepreneurs from the United States are in a unique position to benefit from the digital commerce potential. The e-commerce titans may be less interested in a national online industry that is still small. However, there is still plenty of potential for low-cost local entrepreneurs to thrive.
Despite having less well-known brands and a smaller product line than the giants, these new businesses may compete by providing a service that is more specifically targeted to the needs of their local market. An estimated 83% of customers in India still prefer to pay by cash-on-delivery. Therefore, traditional e-commerce models depending primarily on electronic payments are restricted in their reach. Online retailers in Africa have developed specialized last-mile delivery networks to circumvent the continent's shaky postal infrastructure. For tiny markets like the Western Balkans that lack the infrastructure to support e-commerce, the benefits of rapid local delivery, local currency payment, and a local language online store may all be important competitive advantages.
Local e-enterprise owners may first benefit by studying more sophisticated markets and adapting proven business ideas to their own nation. True innovation, on the other hand, may be fostered in local ecosystems over time. Alibaba and other Chinese e-commerce firms have already established themselves as giants in their own right, impacting the rest of the world with new e-commerce trends such as deeper integration of online businesses with social media.
Don't anticipate multinational e-commerce firms to sleep.
International e-commerce companies will have to face increased pressure to extend their global presence as advanced economies mature and the giants seek new sources of growth over time. As incomes rise, market access in emerging nations will become more appealing.
It's not uncommon for domestic and multinational companies to engage in strong rivalries in these situations. This, however, is likely to represent just a portion of the narrative in question. For example, shopify.com is already powering local internet stores in numerous countries across the globe. Local e-buyers and e-sellers in even the most tough sectors may now interact thanks to international technological platforms like Facebook. Localized services like in-store pickup are being offered in India by collaborating with existing physical shop networks. People who run international and local e-commerce businesses will likely work together more in the future.
All levels of government must act now.
For e-commerce to reach its full potential, governments need to play a role and help the private sector be creative.
As a first step, ensuring that everyone has access to the internet is critical. Online payments and logistics are two examples of basic industries that need to be nurtured. The stable business climate required to attract investment may be created through a clear regulatory, tax, and customs structure that is tailored to the demands of the digital economy. Trust in online shopping may be built on a solid foundation of robust consumer protection. Developing an e-commerce action plan, as Egypt, Serbia, and Vietnam have done to kick-start changes in all of these sectors, may be an important first step.
Governments, local businesses, and multinational e-commerce giants all have a role to play in the developing markets' e-commerce boom. If they are properly implemented, online marketplaces have the potential to both generate new employment and benefit their users. E-commerce has the potential to catalyze the next phase of development in developing countries by stimulating innovation and increasing market competitiveness.
Emerging markets are dominated by mobile commerce.
Because mobile phones are the first web-enabled devices that the majority of people in countries like Asia Pacific and Africa have exposure to, the majority of customers in developing markets choose to use their cellphones to make online purchases. Despite the fact that e-commerce marketplaces in developed nations have many more mobile devices and internet connectivity, customers in underdeveloped countries are more likely to use their cellphones to buy.
There might be an extra one billion internet users in the nine nations examined, with India and China expected to be the most populous. Two-thirds of internet access in India and China will be through smartphones through 2021, according to a recent report. If you want to take advantage of the e-commerce explosion in developing nations, you need a well-thought-out plan for mobile commerce.
The most recent developments
Even though e-commerce infrastructure in developing nations lags behind that in developed countries, sales growth in these countries is expected to be greater in the future. Thus, the e-commerce scene throughout the world may alter dramatically in the upcoming decades.