Indian eCommerce – How To Jump Your Competitors NOW

Photo by Dominic Alves on Flickr

Pssst! Hey! Want some Indian eCommerce action?

Here’s the deal. Indian eCommerce growth is set to surpass the U.S. (they’re sooo 2016) as the second-biggest international eCommerce market in the next twenty years and if we were the current eCommerce king (China), we’d be watching our back. Global payment leader Worldpay has analyzed markets in China, India, Australia and the ASEAN nations – in other words, a whack of APAC – and concluded that a hyperactive surge in technology adoption, particularly with mCommerce, is responsible for India’s jig-quick eCommerce growth potential.


Related: The Difference Between eCommerce and mCommerce


Two tigers on opposite sides of a thin wire fence, regarding each other

Yeah, just watch yourself, China! India is coming! Photo by Rob Gallop on Flickr

Indian eCommerce is expected to grow 28% by 2020. China’s biting its nails – or maybe its tiger claws – since both countries are now hovering around the same numbers population-wise at 1.3 billion.


Related: Three Keys To Success In The Asian eCommerce Market (Yappn white paper)


Increased Internet infrastructure, widespread mobile adoption and more sophisticated logistics will contribute to India’s crossing of the 100 million online shopper line this year. That’s up from 69 million last year.

Close to two-thirds of the Indian population is currently under 35, as are 72% of their dot-com founders. They’re educated, Internet-connected and they’re driving the push to buy online. China’s Singles Day sales may have accounted for nine months of online shopping in India, but that was ages ago in 2016! Just wait and see.


Related: Indian Shoppers Turn To Overseas eCommerce


So how can you get the jump on your Indian eCommerce competitors?

Now here’s the interesting thing.

If you’re a non-Indian eCommerce provider looking to take an early chunk of the fast-growing Indian eCommerce market, consider this: While 64% of the Indian population is under 35, 70% of the entire population doesn’t primarily speak English. Millions of Indians with money aren’t visiting the websites of Indian eCommerce companies that only offer this foreign language.

Underwater view of a largely submerged Indian crocodile and accompanying turtle

Native Indian eCommerce languages: You mostly don’t see them, but they’re there. Photo by J’ram DJ on Flickr

Why English is the lingua franca of Indian government, trade and eCommerce  is a long story but today it means there’s a sizeable opportunity for retailers with a much bigger-picture view and a realization that the remaining 70% aren’t all living in far-flung rural regions.

In a country with over 23 official languages, the most commonly-spoken ones are Hindi, Bengali, Tegulu, Marathi and Tamil. And those below the Top Five are nothing to sneeze at either. There are about as many Gujurati speakers in India as there are Spanish speakers in the United States, and we’ve been banging the drum – or maybe shaking the maracas – for a while now about the importance of not ignoring this sizeable and increasingly more economically powerful consumer culture.

Just to put things into perspective, the top Indian language – Hindi – has 422 million speakers, which is 130% of the total U.S. population. Think about it, America plus nearly a third and that’s just for one Indian language.

As you’ll find almost anywhere, English is most prevalent in the larger cities and less so in the surrounding smaller cities, towns, and rural regions.

Amazon has begun to make inroads into the Land of Prayers , providing serious competition to native Indian eCommerce ‘sons’ such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, Jabong, Shopclues and Quikr, not to mention Chinese eCommerce king Alibaba, who doesn’t have a presence in India but who nevertheless draws its fair share of rupees.

You also get some head scratchers like Amazon India, which bills itself as “India’s largest online store” but has no translation option to be seen. To be fair, only about 35% of the country has Internet penetration but at India’s projected online growth rates, now’s the time to start planning for localizing your website, logistics back end and customer service to reflect the growing number of non-English-speakers from the large subcontinent.

There are a few maverick Indian eCommerce providers who are beginning to offer content in native languages, but so far they’re few and far between.  Although here’s a big surprise: Indian shoppers, like consumers everywhere, prefer to shop in their own languages if they’re available.


Related: 90% EU Internet Users Prefer Online Shopping In Their Own Language

Related: 60% of 3,000 Online Shoppers Across 10 Countries Rarely Or Never Buy From English-Only Websites


With good website translations and customer service in the lingua franca of your prospect’s or customer’s household you can begin the process of localizing your business to take advantage of Indian eCommerce growth in the coming decades. For organizations with multiple international third party vendors, there are convenient and cost-efficient ways for these parties to upload their SKU description and data changes with efficient and cost-effective automatic language translations.





Yappn Corp is an enhanced machine translation company with a strong Asian eCommerce presence and a desire to see the rest of the world talk to each other more. “Kya haal hai?” “I’m fine, thanks for asking, how’s it going, eh?” For more information please contact or call us at +1.905.763.3510 x246.



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Written by Nicole Chardenet, Sales Development Rep at Yappn

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