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A tale of transformation, tenacity and technology

Rise of Digital India. AP

Indian businesses have come a long way. From days of manual labour and paper trails to a world where digital processes reign supreme. The contrast is stark. Traditional methods often meant slower operations and limited reach. Today, it’s a different story.

India’s journey towards digitatisation has been nothing short of transformative. The ‘Digital India’ initiative has played a pivotal role in this shift. It’s not just about the staggering number of internet connections reaching 830 million by 2021. It’s about how these connections have bridged the urban-rural divide, with urban areas accounting for 55 per cent and an impressive 97 per cent being wireless. This is more than just connectivity; it’s about creating a digital ecosystem that is inclusive and expansive.

The smartphone revolution complements this narrative. With predictions of the smartphone base reaching 1 billion by 2026, we’re witnessing a tech boom that’s set to reshape India’s digital sector into a trillion-dollar economy by 2030. This represents a fundamental shift in how technology is accessed and utilized across the country.

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E-commerce in India is rapidly transforming the business landscape, extending beyond large online retailers to include accessible platforms for small-scale businesses, cloud kitchens, and user-friendly payment solutions. This evolution is reshaping consumer behaviour, overhauling supply chain logistics and widening market accessibility. The sector’s growth is remarkable, with projections indicating a rise to $350 billion by 2030. In 2022 alone, e-commerce experienced a 21.5% growth, reaching a market size of US$ 74.8 billion. These figures are not just statistics; they represent a fundamental shift towards a more inclusive and dynamic digital marketplace, integral to India’s economic progress.

The Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) market is a standout in this digital revolution. Initially thriving as online entities, many D2C brands are now establishing physical presence, offering in-store experiences, and featuring in various retail stores. This expansion reflects a trend towards immersive retail experiences and a desire for direct, personalized consumer engagement. Poised to reach US$ 60 billion by FY27, the D2C sector exemplifies the growing consumer preference for brands that provide a seamless blend of online and offline interactions, further cementing e-commerce as a transformative force in India’s digital era.

Furthermore, FinTech is revolutionising financial services with remarkable efficiency and accessibility. Online banking now offers comprehensive digital experiences, including AI-driven loan processing and streamlined account management. This sector’s growth is evident, with the Digital Payments user base projected to reach 837.20 million by 2028. Enhanced security measures in online transactions are building consumer trust, crucial for this expansion. Services like insurance and EMI payments have been simplified, reflecting in the Digital Investment market’s expected growth to $1,983 million by 2024. This transformation is reshaping the financial habits of millions, making services more inclusive and efficient across the country.

Emerging markets like digital fitness, online healthcare, food delivery and smart home devices are rapidly gaining traction in India. These sectors are not merely growing; they’re revolutionizing daily life. They exemplify how digital transformation is extending beyond conventional business models, deeply influencing lifestyle choices and consumer habits. This shift reflects a broader trend of technology seamlessly integrating into everyday life, making services more personalised, accessible and efficient.

The road ahead in India’s digital transformation is being shaped by key trends like Agritech, Electric Vehicles (EV), Internet of Things (IoT), Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), sustainability, and Government e-Marketplace (GeM). Agritech is revolutionizing agriculture with data-driven approaches, while EVs mark a shift towards sustainable transportation. IoT is transforming everyday life by connecting various devices, enhancing efficiency. ONDC is set to democratize e-commerce, creating equal opportunities for all retailers. Sustainability is now integral to business strategies, and GeM is streamlining government procurement, enhancing transparency.

In conclusion, India’s digital growth trajectory is both remarkable and promising, showcasing a nation on the move. Yet, the journey is far from complete. The future hinges on continuously adding new skillsets and translating innovation into practical, daily tasks. Embracing this approach will ensure that India not only rides the wave of digital transformation but also leads it, setting a global benchmark in technological advancement and application.

The author is Executive Director, International Institute of Management Studies (IIMS), Pune. Views expressed in the above piece are personal and solely that of the author. They do not necessarily reflect Firstpost’s views.

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