The online retail market in Pakistan has witnessed a phenomenal growth in the recent years. The increasing trends in online shopping have given rise to a number of retail portals who have emerged as big winners in the online business.
The penetration of online portals in rural areas has increased the future prospects of e-commerce in Pakistan. The rural market has a high purchasing power because of the farming income but unfortunately because of no outlets in these far flung areas, the locals cannot consume luxury products. Pakistani rural areas are a potential market for online shopping and can do better if 3G internet facilities are available throughout the country.
A popular online portal, Kaymu claims to offer payment on delivery service in rural areas where the majority does not own credit cards. Incorporated in December, 2012, the firm has successfully served in major cities of the country and is now gearing up to move further into the remote areas. It produces a range of products from necessities to luxury goods. The large consumer base in these areas has positively affected the sales of this marketplace.
The transition of the Pakistani rural society towards urbanization has led to increase in online shopping in Pakistan. With the advancement of facilities such as electronic and social media, the demand of luxury goods is increasing in the country. Thriving fashion industry, especially the lawn business has reached into rural areas where women tend to buy designer clothes to compete with their urban counterparts. Clothing brands such as Maria B., Gul Ahmed are popular among the semi-rural areas. With their traditional designs and vivid colours, they are easily affordable by middle class living in both urban and rural areas.
Looking beautiful is not limited to urban areas only so Unilever, a major international consumer brand, is delivering its beauty and heath products in the countryside of Pakistan. To upgrade the living standard in these areas, it has employed sales representatives, who are locals of these areas to help the rural women in understanding about the product and then applying it.
Furthermore, the brand is providing toothpastes, shampoos, soaps and moisturizers as health products for the rural men and women so that maintenance of health and hygiene is done properly.
Most of the people in rural areas own mobiles and can easily learn about its various functions and features with the help of televisions, etc. the increase in cell phone usability has caused online retailers to revamp their mobile apps so that they can conveniently be used by the customers. Several online retailers have large infrastructures and logistics so they can easily handle the shipment of their products to distant areas in Pakistan.
Growth of Fast Moving Consumer Goods companies (FMCGs) as well as online retail stores have increased buying online in Pakistan. With the expansion of networking and telecommunications sector in rural areas, shopping portals can serve better, thus achieving all ground-breaking success in the e-commerce sector.
Published in The Balochistan Point on March 4, 2014.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and The Balochistan Point does not necessarily agree with them.