Macro Economy

Govt’s statistics wing to capture e-commerce data via new methods

| Updated on: Apr 10, 2016
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Morgan Stanley report predicts e-commerce market to grow to $119 b, with number of online shoppers surging to 320 million

With more and more people shopping online, the government is set to capture the contribution of the rising e-commerce sector to the economy through a variety of measures, including the proposed Annual Survey of Services.

The Central Statistics Office is trying to measure the service sector better and e-commerce is a part of that, said a senior government official.

Separately, the Ministry of Commerce is also trying to capture data on the e-commerce sector through a study on IT-enabled services.

Survey launch next year The Annual Survey of Services is likely to be launched next year and will help the government capture performance of the sector better. At present, the government does not have any analogous detailed data for the sector, unlike the manufacturing activities, which are captured in the Annual Survey of Industries.

“Within the services sector, is the share of newly-emerging areas such as software exports and e-commerce,” said a recent official paper, while noting that with online transactions unlikely to take place in “physical space”, information has to be collected from various sources such as the Internet and members of industry associations, which can be further validated.

A recent Morgan Stanley report estimated that India’s e-commerce market would grow to $119 billion by 2020 from $102 billion.

It also expects the number of online shoppers in India to rise to 320 million by 2020 from 50 million in 2015. Separately, work on a service price index is also underway, where data from e-commerce may be captured.

However, the CSO is of the view that the market is not developed enough to capture price trends.

“As of now, the consumer price index inflation will be based on brick and mortar markets where people physically go to buy goods and services.

“Even though e-commerce is growing rapidly, in India it is still not of a size or scale comparable to physical markets,” said the official, adding that the CPI must reflect the prices at which the average consumer buys his goods and services.

Published on January 20, 2018

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