Emerging trends in rural commerce to watch out in 2022 – Times of India

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Mr. Sanjay Kaul is the Founder and CEO at Xpand
In the past few years, one of the most outstanding achievements of technology could be associated with the expansion of e-commerce in the rural parts of the country, thereby resulting in a new phenomenon called rural commerce. With the rapid strides that the concept has made, the myth that e-commerce and technological development was meant for the urban population has been effectively broken. Rural commerce in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of close to 20%, and the new-age tech companies understand and acknowledge this significant opportunity.
Here are some of the most exciting and crucial rural commerce trends to watch out for this year:
Rapid growth in service industries
From the macro perspective, the service sector is the highest contributor to GDP at around 54%. The trend has been similar in rural India as the service sector is constantly expanding as an effective alternative to farm (and allied) activities. In a pandemic-induced economy, the service sector in the rural industry added around eight million jobs when other regions and sectors saw massive unemployment. People in rural areas are becoming more tech-savvy and using e-commerce to conduct business and provide services, increasing rural commercialization growth. This could be attributed to the availability of smartphones and cheap high-speed internet connectivity all over the rural country. Hence, the service industry in the region has been consistently growing.
The rise in demanding consumers
Consumer demand for commerce in rural areas is expected to skyrocket. Now that everyone has easy access to social media and the internet, rural areas are connected to urban areas and the rest of the world. They can see what’s trending or what’s going on in the world through social media and fulfil that need for themselves. However, customers can now order anything with just one click in their preferred language, raising the consumer rate for e-commerce. With the inclusion of neighbourhood stores as last-mile service providers, the overall coverage of eCommerce companies is expected to expand at a constant rate.
The purchasing power in rural India is on a steady rise, and it has resulted in the growth of the rural market
The Indian rural market has grown in importance over the previous few decades as the rural population’s purchasing power has risen. People are learning hand skills due to technology, boosting the handicraft and other local industries making it a much larger market overall. It also assists in expanding the rural market, as locals use e-commerce to sell their handcrafted products to the urban cities and worldwide.
Increase in rural literacy
The consistent increase in rural literacy shall also be crucial in achieving the rural commerce targets. As individuals continue to use the internet for their daily needs, they will feel compelled to learn more about it to get the most out of it. E-commerce sites also provide online learning, making studies and learning accessible to people of all ages. They will not need to leave the rural area to learn; instead, they will study online using smartphones and laptops purchased through e-commerce websites. The trend could also be witnessed in the context of Ed-Tech slowly expanding in the rural parts of the country. Because of the government and private sector partnership in the country’s rural regions, literacy rates are rising in the remote areas (recently reached close to 77%). In particular, rural commerce could help provide opportunities through e-commerce and other commercialization for businesses and employment.
Summing up
The overall trends in the context of rural commerce are encouraging. It not only provides an opportunity for large eCommerce companies to expand their operations to a potentially untapped market but also provides a chance for small and medium-sized companies to have a first-mover advantage and be a part of the rural revolution commerce is bringing on the sector. With improved purchasing power, literacy rate, better service sector growth, new technologies, and availability of high-speed internet, the overall commercial growth rates of rural parts of the country have been impressive. The trend is expected to continue in the future.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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