Unicommerce Analysis: Trends Report of the E-Commerce Industry

by | Oct 13, 2020 | E-commerce Reports

Home > Blog > Unicommerce Analysis: Trends Report of the E-Commerce Industry

India is a booming industry for the E-Commerce sector with the second-largest internet user base globally. The increasing number of online shoppers presents a huge growth opportunity for E-Commerce and retail companies which several e-commerce companies started leveraging via multiple-fulfilment models to ensure an error-free delivery process. 

Online sellers also started evolving and adopting new-age technology solutions to meet the rising consumer demand and streamline processes for faster delivery. This evolution has also led to the birth of multiple SaaS solutions to help companies manage inventory, warehouses, orders and every other aspect of e-commerce and retail business.

Being India’s leading E-Commerce focused SaaS platform, Unicommerce has been closely monitoring all the developments and changes happening in the E-Commerce ecosystem.

These developments have been analyzed by Unicommerce experts and strategists and the results have now been shaped in the form of an “Impact Report” that magnifies the key trends driving the E-Commerce industry and its future in the country. 

Covered by over 60+ media houses including Economic Times, Deccan Herald, Financial Express, Zee Business, Your Story etc. the ‘E-Commerce Trends Report by Unicommerce’ gives highly crucial insights on all the ongoing developments and inclinations in the E-Commerce ecosystem.

What does the Report talk about?

Covering and comparing the trends of the E-Commerce industry in both the pre and post COVID 19 era, the E-Commerce trends report throws light on all the major aspects of  E-Commerce Selling right from consumer behavior, to segment-wise changes, impacts on E-Commerce operations including returns, shipping, fulfilment and much more.

The report highlights how prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, the E-Commerce industry saw an increase of 20% in order volume growth along with GMV growth of 23% from Feb’2019 to Feb’2020, but as the pandemic struck, it forced people to lock themselves up in the safety of their homes which tremendously increased the dependency of fulfilling day to day supplies on the E-Commerce industry solely. 

This sudden shift of shopping behavior from offline to online not only resulted in E-Commerce recovery across all sectors by June’2020 but also resulted in an increase of 17% in demands for E-Commerce goods as compared to pre-lockdown order volume. 

Further, the trends report mentions how E-Commerce demand is changing region-wise making the Tier II and Tier III cities contribute around 2/3rd of the online consumer demand in India along with the reasons for such a rise including an increase in social commerce, vernacular language content and improved last-mile deliveries.

The report also unravels how new-age technologies and business models like D2C and Omnichannel solutions are becoming the must-haves for the E-Commerce players in India. D2C has specifically become a key factor in the success of E-Commerce businesses and brands have adapted multiple ways to understand this new way of doing business, implement best practices to yield maximum results. 

What do the numbers suggest: Pre COVID 19 & Post COVID 19

Pre – COVID 19 Analysis

With an average order size of ~INR1100 from Feb’19 to Feb’20, the E-Commerce business overall was on an upward phase last year. The overall electronic segment saw a growth of 22% followed by the fashion & accessories sector that saw a growth of over 26%, specifically the footwear segment that witnessed a 40% growth making it the fastest growing category in the fashion & accessories sector last year.

While the Beauty & wellness sector witnessed an unprecedented order volume growth of ~130%, as compared to last year, the FMCG & agriculture segments saw a 55% increase, followed by health and pharma sectors with a 38% growth.

Around ~90% of the consumer demand of Tier I cities comes from its Top 5 cities, but this demand is well balanced with that of the Tier III regions, which has led to an increasing focus of brands in Tier III markets causing the tremendous growth of 53% in the last year.

Fashion apparel has been the most popular category in Tier III cities and it constitutes over ~50% of Tier III consumer demand as compared to 44% in the previous year.

Seeing the rise in online demands in the past years, E-Commerce companies began to rely more on self shipping as compared to marketplace shipped orders, which gave way for self-shipped orders at 28% in comparison to marketplace shipping at 72% in the last year. 

Analyzing the trends of returns in the last year, there was a rather higher rate of unsatisfactory customer experience, giving rise to an overall order volume the rate of returns at ~20% in the previous year. For COD orders the return rate was at 27% returns and for prepaid orders, it was at 12%.

Post – COVID 19 Analysis 

Post the pandemic and an entirely new normal in place, the numbers changed drastically for regions, segments and the ways of selling. Analyzing the post- COVID 19 trends, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier cities now contribute almost 66% of the total online consumer demand in India, shifting the paradigm from Tier 1 cities for a lot many E-Commerce companies. 

Due to this new way of selling, website footfall of shoppers has grown 88% as compared to 32% growth on marketplaces and the biggest segments to have seen an increasing acumen of the D2C Selling trend involves

  • Beauty & Wellness
  • Fashion & Accessories 
  • FMCG & Agriculture
Chumbak is one of the leading fashion and accessories brands that has managed to boost their sales and continued to grow in the post pandemic times with the help of highly advanced and technologically profound solutions of Unicommerce. Read the case study to know more:

Moving on to the changes that took place in terms of returns in the post pandemic times, COD orders saw a big dip of 20% in returns in 2020, whereas, for prepaid orders, returns have decreased to 11% in 2020 making COD returns around 2X as compared to prepaid ones.

The total return requests per thousand forward orders have seen a decline of ~13% as compared to last year and the share of return orders for the current year constitutes at ~17%.

Flo Mattress is another homegrown and unique brand that caters to a very niche segment in the country which is the sleep tech arena. They struggled with the handling and processing of custom mattress orders but using the support of Unicommerce’s solutions, the mattress brand not only upscaled their operations but managed to have 10x growth in terms of sales. Take a look at their journey:

The reason behind such a significant drop in return orders this year as compared to last year is due to a number of reasons including several offers like try & buy, prepaid orders with non-returnable policies, etc. In between Feb’20 vs Jun’20, the numbers for self shipping orders went up to 35% and the ones for marketplace shipping reduced to 65%.

Another new trend seen is of Tier II and beyond cities that have seen a ~23% decrease in overall returns due to increasing technology adoption, improved last-mile delivery and customer-centric return policies.All the numbers indicate how businesses in the E-Commerce industry have seen a whirlwind of effects of the pandemic with the help of new technologies and reformed strategies of growth, but what about the industry as a whole and which segments have managed to be unhinged from the roadblocks put forth? 

How is E-Commerce shaping up in the new reality?

The consumer buying patterns and preferences have changed significantly with sections like health & pharma along with FMCG & agriculture seeing the fastest-growing categories, which happened due to the necessity of buying online and gave way for a large number of first-time users.

Because of all this, E-Commerce has not only recovered but witnessed an order-volume growth of 17% in the month of June alone, which indicates how perfectly the ecosystem is transitioning into this post COVID-19 world. 

After E-Commerce resumed operations post Unlock 1.0, the return rate has seen a dip of around 10-30% depending on the category, the increasing demand for essential products (generally non-returnable) and how well the new safety norms have been followed for consumers to shop everything without setting foot outside their homes.

 As the trend for consumers to buy directly from brands’ websites continues to increase, retail brands are now strengthening their online capabilities and opting for different approaches to connect with consumers.

 With E-Commerce shaping up to a new normal for shoppers, Unicommerce is uniquely positioned to provide E-Commerce supply chain technology cloud solutions to help industry players of all sizes to manage their business efficiently.  

Established eight years ago, Unicommerce is a market leader processing over 20% of India’s E-Commerce volume and works with leading online players across segments. for over 10,000 registered customers across India, Middle East and Southeast Asia including Myntra, Netmeds, Urban company, Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, W, and Forever New to name a few

To know more about the report, download it here!