E-commerce spending in India has gained critical mass, a factor that makes its inclusion as a component of the national economic database important, feels the government as it looks to track online spending patterns both in rural and urban India. Starting July, government surveys on expenditure will, for the first time, seek responses on e-commerce spending habits that will constitute the NSSO’s next consumer expenditure survey between July 2017 and June 2018.
The survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation, which comes under the Statistics ministry, provides household level data on spending patterns across commodity and service categories in both urban and rural areas.
A report citing government officials involved in the exercise said government data managers now reckon e-commerce spend as beginning to hit critical mass and should be part of the national economic data base. The data managers also want to see if e-commerce spending can have an impact on inflation, it added.
Officials believe that though the scope and size of e-commerce in India may not be big enough to impact price data on a national economic scale, a survey could indicate the influence of e-commerce pricing policies on indices.
India’s ecommerce sector was estimated to be $14.5 billion in 2016, according a study by Red-Seeer Consulting, but happens to be the fastest growing online retail market globally. While e-c0ommerce share in India’s total retail spending of $750 billion may be miniscule, the sector is poised for rapid growth.
US-based market research company Forrester expects around one-fifth of total retail sales to take place online by 2021 in Asia Pacific.