E-commerce in India is expected to see a significant uptrend in the coming days and could lend a helping hand to the country’s job landscape, which needs as many as 80 million new jobs in the next decade, says a report.
“Already employing just under a million Indians, e-commerce could be a new source of service sector jobs,” global financial services major HSBC has said.
Young population, rapid smartphone adoption and a digital payments revolution could support the rise of e-commerce. Moreover, India is lagging behind China by more than seven years, in terms of Internet penetration and online purchases, so e-commerce could experience a similar takeoff.
“We find that e-commerce jobs are more productive than the kind India is currently creating. They could also be an easy fit, matching India’s skills and entrepreneurial profile,” HSBC said in a research note.
With the rise of online purchases, e-commerce could create 20 million ‘gross’ jobs across logistics & delivery (70 per cent), and customer care, IT & management (30 per cent), however, some jobs will be lost in bricks-and-mortar stores.
“We model this carefully and find that, on net, e-commerce could create 12 million ‘new’ jobs,” said the report.
According to the report, “business-as-usual estimates suggest India could have a shortfall of 24 million jobs over the next decade. E-commerce could fill half that gap.”
The report noted that with the formation of Taobao villages (digital market places where villagers can set up digital shops), e-commerce in China has spread to rural areas.
“A similar revolution in India could engage five million village merchants and create many livelihood opportunities over 10 years,” it said.
India’s current job profile is lopsided as low productivity sectors employ the vast majority. Agriculture is very low productivity, but employs half the labour force.
On the other hand, sectors such as financial services are highly productive, but employ a modicum of the labour force.
“As a result, India’s overall labour productivity is at very low levels,” HSBC said.