Mounting Internet Penetration Rates in Pakistan
According to a news article recently published in the Vietnam News, E-commerce has helped to revolutionize businesses by fueling their growth. The use of mobile phones and other devices for online buying and selling has become much prevalent. For the most part, this has been contributed by the presence of 2G/3G/4G mobile services which in turn have been aided by technological advances and improved infrastructure. In addition, the global E-commerce market turnover stood at $100 billion by close of last year.
This is also the case with Pakistan stated according to an article written by Monis Rahman, the size of our E-commerce market is projected to rise to over $600 million in 2017 from its present size of $30 million. Pakistan’s internet penetration is also expected to reach 56 million users in 2019.
As aforementioned, this has been largely contributed by the launch of 3G and 4G services. The internet penetration rate in Pakistan, according to the report on E-commerce trends published by Kaymu, is 29.4%.
Surge in Smartphone Usage
It is also important to note that not only has the number of internet users surged to an unprecedented level, the use of smart phones has also escalated. There are around 9 million internet users in Pakistan as per Monis Rahman’s article. Smart phones have virtually assumed the status of necessity and are increasingly geared with the latest web browsers, allowing seamless internet connectivity and thus access to a plethora of E-commerce websites and sellers across the globe.
The rise in internet penetration has actually spearheaded the growth of the mobile phone market in Pakistan. This is made possible by the rapidly declining cost of manufacturing smart phones (due to economies of scale) experienced by mobile phone giants such as Apple, Samsung etc.
Not only has the development of E-commerce been proliferated by the use of smart phones, but also by the use of internet over other mobile devices such as tablets, laptops, notebooks etc. Mobile traffic constitutes 17% of the total E-commerce traffic (this only includes smart phones according to Kaymu’s report) generated in Pakistan. The graph below illustrates that Apple leads the list as the most commonly used smart phone, generating 12% of total mobile phone traffic for E-commerce ventures in Pakistan. This is quoted to explain that users like to use mobile devices (smart phones and tablets) to research product information as well as their prices and information about vendors/sellers.
Mobile Apps – Point of Differentiation?
Among the many, one reason as to why E-commerce businesses are greatly focusing on encouraging the development of their own mobile apps is so that consumers (both buyers and sellers) can make use of their mobile phones to conveniently download the desired app, sign up as buyers or sellers and get access to an exhaustive list of various product categories and products therein to decide what to buy or sell. This rationale is supported in an article published by the Quora whose unifying theme is that mobile apps are now increasingly used as a point of differentiation by online businesses to drive sales.
Reviewed by Sundas Sajid, Junior Editor – Youth Correspondent