Indian D2C brands are already making their presence felt across the world, thanks to Amazon
Business Insider India
- India's export of goods and services is estimated to reach approximately USD 760-770 billion for the ongoing financial year.
- Small and medium businesses from India are already exporting large numbers, but tech giants like
Amazonhave unlocked the potential to reach untapped markets.
- Business Insider India spoke to Bhupen Wakankar, Director of Global Trade at Amazon India.
AdvertisementNot too long ago, Indian consumers looked forward to buying foreign articles – games or trinkets and more from the US and other countries. Now, Indian companies are selling to the world. Thanks to large global platforms like Amazon, even small Indian businesses are exporting their direct-to-consumer products to newer geographies and exploring untapped markets.
Amazon has been running an export program called Amazon Global Selling since 2015. It started with 100 sellers on the platform, and today, it has over one lakh sellers shipping products to more than 200 countries.
The number of Indian sellers on Global Selling has grown nearly 30% year-on-year (YoY) since January 2020. All thanks to technology that has democratised the opportunity by offering a cost-effective way to reach a large customer base with the aid of critical data.
Here's what India is selling to the world on Amazon
Bhupen Wakankar, director of global trade at Amazon India, told Business Insider India that the top categories of products India sells to the world are toys, kitchen and office categories. These top 6-7 categories are registering $100 million in yearly exports.
"In the last 18 months, there has been diversification in the categories in which Indian entrepreneurs are playing. Initially, we were prominent in the home and apparel section but now, (we) have moved into consumer goods. Teas, coffee, Ayurvedic products, STEM toys, and handicrafts have been the trend," he said. STEM stands for Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
He added, "Home and apparel are the leaders, and we are seeing growth. In fact, there was a lot of conversation around recession in the US, and the retail numbers came out, and there was a 3% increase in growth."
Amazon is also seeing an increase in the number of cities from where the new exporters are joining. Their platform now has exporters from over 200 cities, and the trend continues.
The spike months
The months when sales spike are the usual suspects, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BCFM) sale events. In 2022, during these two sales events, Indian exporters on Amazon Global Selling saw over 100% business growth compared to business as usual – selling lakhs of Made in India products to customers across the world.
During BFCM 2022, categories such as toys, kitchen, and home experienced significant growth, with a surge of over 60%, 40%, and 25%, respectively. Additionally, the jewellery and grocery categories grew by approximately 20%.
Several renowned Indian brands, including Vahdam, Skillmatics, California Design Den, VirVentures, and Kart It, were highly sought-after.
The 2022 global Prime Day event witnessed a remarkable surge of approximately 50% in business growth for Indian exporters on Amazon Global Selling. The highest growth was seen in categories like kitchen products, STEM toys, apparel and footwear, office products, beauty, and healthcare.
"Customers across Amazon global marketplaces like North America, Europe, Middle East, and Africa shopped the highest from Indian exporters with Australia, Japan, and Singapore also reporting high growth for sellers," Wakankar said.
The moolah from emerging markets
Indian companies on Amazon Global Selling surpassed $5 billion in cumulative exports between 2015-2022. Over 1,000 exporters crossed ₹1 crore in sales in 2021. This number is expected to grow further in the coming years.
Wakankar said, "Exports in India have been relegated to top markets like the US, UK, and EU for the longest time. However, we are also noticing a lot of demand coming in from emerging markets like the Middle East, Japan, Singapore, and Australia."
The Government has taken steps to encourage cross-border trade, such as free-trade agreements between countries such as the UAE, the UK, Australia, and others – another reason for the rise in exports.
While it is good to have a wide canvas, businesses keen on entering and expanding into new global markets must adapt to meet the unique market requirements. For instance, while printed bedsheets with lower thread counts are preferred in India, consumers in the US and UK prefer higher thread counts and block colours.
Similarly, board game preferences too differ across geographies, with Snakes & Ladders and Ludo being popular in India, while Scrabble and Scotland Yard are preferred in the US and UK, respectively.
Businesses must remain agile and innovative to cater to customers' evolving preferences, which are influenced by cultural, social, and environmental factors. A platform like Amazon aids this with its product reviews and ratings – which help businesses stay connected with customers and their changing needs.
Does E-commerce make exporting easy?
Exporting is a new and exciting opportunity for sellers and has been traditionally considered challenging and cumbersome, especially for small businesses –due to the many complexities involved. But e-commerce has simplified the process, claims Wakankar.
"Earlier, the only way for entrepreneurs to try out new markets was to go there, mostly to top trade fairs physically, meet suppliers, send samples, get orders, manufacture, figure out shipping, storage, and then send their products,” he said.
E-commerce has made it possible for them to connect with customers via a few clicks directly. “They can leverage available resources like industry reports and market insights from e-commerce players, start small, and give themselves a chance to get it right the first time," Wakankar says.
This is a blessing for small businesses, which can benefit from the fact that e-commerce enables businesses to incur low start-up and operational costs, supports them with market intelligence through data insights and customer reviews, and offers them support with distribution, payments, and logistics.
“This massively increases the ability of businesses to reach large audiences quickly and build a global brand that owns and runs its IP (Intellectual Property) - while still being based in India," Wakankar adds.
In a nutshell, established brands will require technology-based resources, insights into consumer behaviour, and financial assistance to expand their reach to more customers and unexplored markets. Meanwhile, emerging brands will need significant assistance refining their brand or product offerings, gaining insights into their target audience, and accessing funding and mentorship to enter the global market.
According to Union Minister for State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel, India's export of goods and services is estimated to reach approximately $760-770 billion for the ongoing financial year, compared to the previous fiscal year's export value of $672 billion.
While growth comes from large quarters, small businesses which offer unique value propositions to a wider set of customers are also key to taking the brand ‘Made In India’ abroad in a big way.
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