E-Commerce players, including Snapdeal, ShopClues, UrbanClap, and Shop101, have joined hands to launch a new trade association, The E-Commerce Council of India (TECI). The move to establish a new trade body comes at a time when the government has tightened norms for e-commerce firms having foreign investment.
Moreover, the draft national e-commerce policy has mooted setting up a legal and technological framework for restrictions on cross-border data flow and also laid out conditions for businesses regarding collection or processing of sensitive data locally and storing it abroad. The draft policy addresses six broad issues of the e-commerce ecosystem -- data, infrastructure development, e-commerce marketplaces, regulatory issues, stimulating domestic digital economy and export promotion through e-commerce.
"The rapidly growing e-commerce sector in India today established its own trade association under the name of TECI...The founding members of TECI include product and services marketplaces Snapdeal, ShopClues, UrbanClap, Shop101, Flyrobe and Fynd along with social commerce platform Shop101," the freshly-minted association said in a statement. The founding members also include digital-first fashion brands like Bewakoof, Breya and Rustorange. Besides this, online brands like Mamaearth, Superbottoms and Azah, which focus on specific segments like baby care products and women's hygiene products are part of the group that has collaborated to launch TECI.
"TECI members, between themselves, account for more than 7.5 lakh online sellers and service providers. Every month, more than 100 million users interact with the online businesses operated by members of TECI. More than 30 global and domestic institutional investors have invested more than USD 2.25 billion in the enterprises founded by TECI members," it said.
The e-commerce sector in India is witnessing an explosive growth fuelled by the increase in the number of online users, growing penetration of smartphones and the rising popularity of social media platforms. "While nearly 140 million Indians are already shopping online, the expansion of digital commerce into Tier 2 and 3 cities has opened the doors for the next 200-300 million online buyers, who have now started to come online looking for greater choice, convenience and enhanced value," it said.
Policymakers across the world, including India, are engaged in discussion to determine suitable policy frameworks for the sector, which will enable fast growth while balancing the interests of all stakeholders. "TECI expects to collate, crystallise and share the e-commerce industry's viewpoint in this regard, working collaboratively with other stakeholders," the statement added.
Besides policy advocacy, the council seeks to define and encourage the use of industry best practices relating to data privacy, logistics, payment processes, resolution of disputes, consumer protection, and other relevant issues. It will also conduct and commission research with regard to issues concerning the e-commerce sector, it added.
According to a February 2019 Morgan Stanley report, India is adding one Internet user every three seconds and the e-commerce sector in India is estimated to reach USD 230 billion by 2028, accounting for 10 per cent of India's retail. The online shopper penetration is slated to increase from 25 per cent (or 140 million users) in 2018 to 58 per cent (or 540 million users) in 2028.
(With inputs from agencies.)