Pakistan’s ecommerce industry has grown rapidly over the past few years but heavy reliance on cash has ensured gathering data and establishing benchmarks remains a challenge.
In order for the industry to blossom, insights on consumer behaviour and shopping patterns are essential. Data regarding extensivity of penetration across the country and payment methods is as crucial.
Pakistan’s first Ecommerce Index - curated by Daraz using internal data from 2019 - offers these insights and helps map the trends witnessed in consumer shopping patterns over a year.
Here's a look at the contribution of provinces and cities
With the largest population, Punjab has the highest contribution to ecommerce order shares at 55%, followed by Sindh at 36%. Balochistan, KPK and Azad Kashmir, cumulatively contribute the remaining 9%.
The Index offers a city-wise perspective on order market share as well, with Karachi contributing 24%, Lahore 17% and Islamabad and Rawalpindi 10%. Multan is recognised as a growing city for e-commerce alongside Sialkot and Hyderabad.
Here's a look at month-wise trends
According to the Index, online sales and orders increase during the last three months of the year, with November and December remaining particularly popular for shopping; primarily suggesting that Pakistani online shoppers seem to be following the trends of international sales such as 11.11 and Black Friday.
The average order value increased by 11.8% in the last three months on Daraz.
What are customers buying?
The Ecommerce Index has found that 'Electronics and Appliances', 'Mobiles and Tablets' and 'Fashion' are the top 3 performing categories in ecommerce.
In terms of units sold, the FMCG category has been found to be the most popular in 2019. In terms of sales, the mobiles and tablets category has been celebrated the most on ecommerce platforms.
At Daraz, mobile top-ups were the second most sold product on the platform indicating that convenience is a significant factor that can help convert hybrid and offline shoppers to online shoppers.
The Ecommerce Index recognised a growth in the usage of digital payment methods in 2019.
The use of e-wallets and mobile accounts grew by 8.2X last year, while the use of bank cards grew by 1.9x.
Additionally, the use of online banking grew by 1.9x.
In 2019, digital payments contributed to 32% of total consumer spend on Daraz.
Key factors driving digital payment adoption have been accessibility - the availability of convenient payment options - security and customer education.
Covid-19 impact on ecommerce
The Index has found that since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Pakistan, demand for FMCG products has jumped. On Daraz, the contribution of FMCG products to the overall sales doubled in March and is expected to increase to 70%.
The report also highlights that the demand for hand washes and hand sanitisers has increased by 18x while DFresh – the fruits and vegetables channel on Daraz – has witnessed an order uplift of 9x.
The data insists that a large segment of Pakistani shoppers have identified ecommerce platforms as a solution during these uncertain times and have transitioned towards online shopping even to purchase groceries, a category over which traditional retail has held a stronger grip.
The Ecommerce Index is Pakistan’s first index that will help establish benchmarks for the industry.
Attending an online launch event, Federal Secretary IT and Telecom Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui remarked on the importance of ecommerce and online purchase of products during the current situation.
The complete Ecommerce Index can be found here.
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