Pakistan is one of the most underdeveloped countries of the world. The speed at which online shopping in Pakistan has spread over the years is enviable. There are several factors which have directly contributed to this phenomenal growth. Let us see the most important factors directly adding to heightened e-commerce activity in Pakistan.
Internet Usage & Population Statistics:
During the last decade, internet usage in Pakistan has increased significantly. Anyone doubtful about this fact must have a look at the number of internet users grown during the last 12 years. The population using internet in 2000 according to Internet World Stat has grown from a meager 133,900 to 18,500,000 for the year 2010. The total number of users has grown exponentially with internet usage penetration growing from 0.1% in the year 2000 to 10.4% in year 2010. It is by no means a small achievement with 100 times increase in internet penetration.
Demographics have always played an important role in e-commerce activity. Youth is one of the second most important reasons for growth of online shopping in Pakistan. The United Nation’s estimate as of year 2011 is that Pakistan has a 35.4% population of children aged between 0 – 14 years. And similarly, Pakistan, as of year 2011, has a population of 60.3% aged between 15 and 64 years. This means that Pakistan has a large pool of young people who comprise more than 60% of total Pakistan’s population. Young people tend to switch to a newer technology a lot quicker than older people. They do not have a steep learning curve, making the shift to newer technology a lot easier. Young population is one another important reason why online shopping in Pakistan is poised to prosper.
Changing Business Models:
We all know how internet has evolved over time. Pakistan, unfortunately, being engulfed in terrorism since the year 2000 when internet started growing, has not been able to successfully establish any online payment mechanisms. However, a lot of success stories of e-commerce websites in Pakistan have been major contributors in devising new internet payment transaction models that have helped pave the way for making payments online. Payment on delivery has been one of the most successful business models. Customers buying technology gadgets, health supplement products, and other items of need have successfully switched to this new business model. A lot of websites have been able to establish trust among their customers by delivering them products and getting the payment on delivery.
Many telecommunication companies have stepped in to make mobile banking widespread. Mobile banking products have already been successfully introduced in Pakistan like Easy Paisa, UBL Omni, and Time Pey etc. They may not be a perfect substitute for more sophisticated and customizable international online payment solutions like Visa, Master, or PayPal, but still, they have been able to penetrate into the market, offering customers highly competitive pricing.
Online banking has also been on the rise. Big multinational banks like HSBC and Standard Chartered are already providing easy to transfer online payment facilities. These online banking transactions have been provided with secure accessibility to minimize chances of embezzlement or fraud. Economic costs have always been a driving factor in success or failure of many technologies. One of the other important factors that will further add to growth of online shopping in Pakistan is transaction cost. When several different companies are trying to help their customers make payments online, transaction costs will significantly go down. Similarly, with so company competitors in the market, the quality of service would also improve.
Lastly, we still remember those days when sending money to someone meant at least two to three hours of spare work involving deposits, account numbers, and other documentary obligations. However, modern online payments have solved all these problems when you only need to present your national identity card for sending the money to anyone anywhere in the country.