Pakistan’s e-commerce industry receives a boost as shoppers move online

Pakistan takes steps to improve the e-commerce industry amidst the closure of brick and mortar stores during the pandemic. Statistics show promising results and developments are underway to boost exports.

As the pandemic looms on, and eager shoppers are forced to limit their physical mobility, Pakistan’s e-commerce and digital economy have experienced a great surge in online presence.

Arab News reported that this situation comes after the recent developments made by Pakistan to magnify the digitization of its economy by supporting online businesses to increase exports and generate more job opportunities for young people.

“We have received an overwhelming response… our data shows that online orders have grown nine times [since March],” is what Muhammad Ammar Hassan, Chief Marketing Officer at Pakistan’s largest online shopping store had to say. “We are experiencing 100% year-on-year growth in each item … and this has increased even further since March 2020 due to the coronavirus,” he continued.

According to a report by the State Bank of Pakistan, the massive shift to the medium of electronic payments would reap many benefits: it would fuel consumption and trade, aid the country’s economy by as much as 7%, generate nearly 4 million jobs and be able to improve Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by as much as $36 billion by 2025.

Statistics show that despite the digital industry remaining at a stage of infancy, there has been an increase in the number of e-commerce transactions, with more registered e-commerce merchants. Data revealed that the sales of local and foreign e-commerce merchants in Pakistan almost doubled from Rs. 20.7 billion in 2017 to Rs. 40.1 billion in 2018. The data was shared by the Ministry of Commerce.

“These figures do not include all the postpaid and cash-on-delivery transactions, which account for 60% of the total value of e-commerce in Pakistan,” said the Ministry of Commerce Joint Secretary Aisha Humera Moriani.

The government is also in the process of developing an international payment gateway that will be integrated with other online payment platforms like PayPal. This would assist incoming payments which in turn would enhance exports and aid freelancers.

According to the National Information Technology Board Chief Executive Officer Shabahat Ali Shah, the pandemic had delayed the progress of the payment gateway but reiterated that its delivery would be facilitated by the organization as soon as possible.

Some businessmen hold the view that the promising online sales figures would grow further in the event of the government offering tax incentives and guaranteeing regulations for Pakistan’s e-commerce platform.

“The footfall on stores and shopping malls has declined up to 80% following the outbreak of coronavirus while the revenue of retail business has fallen to almost 25%,” said Chainstore Association of Pakistan Chairman Rana Tariq Mehboob.

Source: The Express Tribune

Author: Wardah Javaid