As online transactions from non-metro cities in the world’s second-most populous country are on an upward trend, social commerce industry in India is expected to reach around USD 7 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2025, according to a report by market consultancy firm Redseer Consulting.
Currently, social commerce accounted for a meager 1-2% of India’s USD 38 billion overall online retailing market. In five years, it is expected to grow to around 4-5%, or USD 5.6 – 7 billion out of the estimated USD 140 billion Indian e-commerce market by then.
“We expect that a significant chunk of India’s over 250 million online shoppers of 2022 and beyond will be very comfortable with social commerce and this model will play a key role in extending ecommerce to the masses,” Redseer Consulting Director Mrigank Gutgutia told news wire service Press Trust of India.
Pandemic has spurred digital adoption among users in non-metro Indian cities, giving hopes to social commerce startups that specifically target buyers from smaller cities. Social commerce refers to online shopping websites and apps that bring together sellers and buyers who know each other through their online social circle.
A few major names in this space include Facebook-backed Meesho, Glowroad, and Shop101. All the three players operate on a reseller model that allows sellers—largely women and students—to purchase products in bulk and resell them to their friends, family, and acquaintances on a higher margin. According to the report, these companies would collectively have over 70 million resellers by 2025—five times more than the current 15 million total resellers.
In addition to the reseller model, a few startups such as Trell and Bulbul work with social media influencers who make short videos of products in categories such as lifestyle, fashion, and electronics, hoping their followers would buy these products from the platform.
“As new consumers are coming online, e-commerce is also evolving in India. Social commerce is a very attractive space for us,” said Nao Ito, operating partner at Beeenext, one of the backers of Trell.