The wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has left people with a harsh reality: the transition to a digital world was always going to be hard. Since the dawn of the 21st Century, it was clear that this was the digital century. A transition to the World Wide Web was inevitable for businesses and micro-enterprises. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the transition as the whole world moved into lockdown.
Lockdown and the implementation of safety protocols have left businesses with no choice but to move business operations online. This was the case for many people all over the world. This move may have been hast, but it definitely has positive implications for the future.
E-commerce is one of the few sectors with constant growth over the years. The Indian e-commerce sector has been on an upward growth trajectory and is expected to grow in market size from US$38.5 billion in 2017 to US$200 billion in 2026. The E-commerce sector is one of the few sectors to report growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. This market is expected to reach 30 to 35 crore people over the next five years.
It would be extremely important for micro-enterprises around the world to capitalize on the biggest market in the world. These marketplaces do not face the issue of geographical distance as big marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart have a detailed delivery system spanning all over India. Spending is also poised to increase on e-commerce platforms and getting products on such marketplaces would be essential to the sales of the micro-entrepreneur.
The Micro-entrepreneurship Development Program has partnered with deAsra, another non-profit organization, to provide support for the online transition to marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart. It also helps with market linkage, which is essential for micro-entrepreneurs to run their business. The online penetration of retail is expected to reach 10.7 percent by 2024, compared to 4.7 percent in 2019. Internet users in India are also expected to increase from 687.62 million as of September 2019 to 829 million by 2021. All of these factors have made it lucrative for micro-entrepreneurs to make the jump online. While this transition may not be an easy feat, support from the Deshpande Foundation has made it easier for the micro-entrepreneurs engaged in the Micro-Entrepreneurship Development Program.