After having caused major disruption on the telecom front, with free voice calls for life, data services at unheard-of prices, and affordable smartphones, making India the highest data consumption nation and the second largest smartphone market, the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is planning a major upheaval on the e-commerce front.
Just as the dust was settling down on the Walmart acquisition of Flipkart, in came the Reliance group’s announcement with its plans for the e-commerce sector. With an inventory-based marketplace model as against the aggregator format followed by foreign investors (restricted by FDI guidelines) Amazon and Walmart–Flipkart, the group is readying around 50 warehouses across the country. On a platform that combines online and conventional shopping, the company will create a hybrid online-to-offline commerce platform by integrating and synergizing Reliance Retail’s physical marketplace with Reliance Jio’s digital infrastructure and services. The e-commerce venture will leverage 350 million footfalls in Reliance Retail stores, 215 million Reliance Jio subscribers, and the target of 50 million fiber broadband homes and 30 million small merchants. This is completely in line with the expected upsurge in online traffic from 108 million consumers in 2017 to 120 million in 2018, and an expected e-commerce market of Rs. 490,000 crore by 2020, from Rs. 222,500 crore currently. The brick-and-mortar dealer network will need to do some out-of-the-box thinking and align his operations to this impending change, as 33 percent of this market is accounted for by electronics.
The FIFA World Cup, as expected, provided major impetus in the month of June, till mid-July to TV sales, particularly in West Bengal, Goa, and Kerala. Brands in anticipation had invested in promotional campaigns across television, print, and digital platforms; enhanced shop-front displays; launched new larger screen models; and facilitated attractive finance schemes. The football fever is gradually spreading to other areas such as NCR, Bangalore, and Mumbai.
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency continues with its drive to promote energy efficiency. It has advised AC makers to label the products indicating the optimum temperature setting and is considering making 24°C as the mandatory default setting for air conditioners.