ISLAMABAD: The size of the e-commerce market, one of the most important drivers of a digital Pakistan, is expected to grow up to $ 1 billion by 2020 which currently falls between $ 70-150 million.
The regulations regarding Framework for Payment System Operators (PSO) and Payment Service Providers (PSP) have been devised and approved by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) while development of e-commerce Policy Framework is also under process to cater to all elements of the user, merchant trust with dispute resolution and remedial mechanisms.
Annual report-2017 of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has revealed that on directions of Prime Minister, Ministry of Commerce has formulated “E-Commerce Policy Board” to monitor progress and ensure coordinated cross-institutional efforts for development of e-commerce in Pakistan.
The report said in private sector, entrepreneurs have launched e-commerce initiatives for consumers (B2C) that have been huge successes such as daraz.pk, olx.com.pk, homeshopping.pk.
The most important element of the e-commerce ecosystem is Payment Gateway that will enable entry of credible international players in e-commerce ecosystem of Pakistan and will resolve longstanding barrier to growth of Pakistani e-commerce market.
The recent policy and regulatory development have paved the way for credible international players to enter into Pakistan’s e-commerce market.
World’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba, has shown its interest in Pakistani market and signed a MoU with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan to bring small and medium enterprise in the realm of the e-commerce platform.
Engagements with Alibaba can transform reach of Pakistani products to international markets and help promote e-commerce and financial services in Pakistan.
The report said Pakistan is generally a cash-driven economy as the number of debit/credit card holders is small and m-wallet accounts are also very low due to which more than 95 per cent of the e-commerce transactions are done by Cash on Delivery system. Pakistan is also making good progress on Business to Business (B2B) front as software industry aims to achieve the goal of $ 5 billion export mark by the year 2020.
Furthermore, the IT industry has various medium-sized IT firms earning nearly $ 530 million, mainly in software development and service outsourcing.
However, Pakistan’s share in the global IT sales is just $ 2.8 billion out of global $ 3.2 trillion global markets. Consumer buying trend in Pakistan is not just limited to buying products online, there are also websites for cars, property and travel which shows that consumers in Pakistan are using the internet to experience a wide range of economic activities.
Some of the local portals have emerged as leading online businesses in Pakistan. The auto portal PakWheels has emerged as the leading online car buying and selling website in Pakistan.
It has reached a listing of over 160,000 cars and over 24,000 motorcycles and is accessed by more than 100,000 unique visitors every day.
Zameen.com is the leading online real estate database that connects real estate dealers, developers, estate agencies with general buyers, sellers and renters in Pakistan.
Food Panda, Pakistan’s leading food delivery app, estimates that it has generated a staggering $ 1 billion in additional sales for the restaurant industry during the last year.
Rozee.pk enjoys an exalted standard as Pakistan’s leading job website with plenty of nationwide vacancies advertised each day. Daraz.pk is the largest online shopping mall, which provides a platform to multiple vendors and one-stop shop for consumers.
All leading brands for fashion, food, accessories etc. are also offering online shopping facility to their customers. These portals are now also providing mobile and online solutions for payments.
However, it is imperative that the government and private sector enable a safe, reliable and unrestricted environment for the consumers for e-commerce activities.
The success of such online ventures has made the e-commerce market of Pakistan a lucrative market for foreign investment in the digital world.
Daraz.pk recently managed to secure an investment of $ 55 million for its operations in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar from Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG) and Commonwealth Development Corporation Group, United Kingdom.
Zameen.com raised $ 29 million in two rounds of international funding from Catch Group and Frontier Digital Ventures.
Careem has raised an investment of $ 60 million from Abraaj Group (Abraaj) as lead investor for its operations in Pakistan and MENA region while Rozee.pk raised $ 6.5 million in a Series C funding round with Vostok Nafta and Piton Capital Lead Investment as the main investors.