Also in this letter:
■ IT companies expect operating margins to jump as recession eases
■ Will not spare Biya if guidelines are violated: NCPCR chief
■ The IT Ministry extends the deadline for public feedback on the data bill to January 2
India’s ecomm to grow 36.8% in 2022 amid declining pandemic: report
India’s e-commerce industry is set to grow 36.8% year-on-year in 2022, even as more shoppers return to brick-and-mortar stores as fears of Covid-19 recede, according to e-commerce enabler Unicommerce.
Unicommerce’s data is based on the analysis of more than 500 million transactions. It does not include data related to the sale of mobile phones and smartphones.
By the numbers: Tier 3 markets such as Udaipur, Roorkee and Rohtak grew by 64.7% in 2022 over the previous year, while Tier 3 markets such as Bhopal, Amritsar and Bhubaneshwar posted an impressive 50.9% growth.
Order volume from Tier 1 cities saw 10.3% growth in 2022 compared to 2021.
So not only did tier 2 and 3 cities account for the majority (almost 63%) of total user orders, but both also grew much faster than tier 1 markets.
In an interaction with ET on September 16, Flipkart Group CEO Kalian Krishnamurthi said that the top 10 Indian cities are now a relatively small part of Flipkart’s overall business and the next 30-100 cities drive most of the growth for the firm’s Bengaluru base.
Beauty, the rise of glasses: Beauty and personal care and eyewear were the fastest-growing categories, while fashion and apparel continued to lead in order volume.
The segments of beauty and personal care, as well as glasses and accessories, recorded an increase in the volume of orders compared to the previous year of 76.6% and 55%, respectively.
We reported on January 3 that the beauty and personal care category would be the fastest-growing category this year, as new-age online brands like Sugar Cosmetics and Mamaearth try to take away share from traditional players like Lakme.
IT companies expect operating margins to jump as waste declines
Operating margins for India’s IT majors are expected to improve as churn — a major driver of profitability declines in the past few quarters — takes a sharp dip as the demand cycle is expected to moderate and industry-wide layoffs cool the labor market.
Spending makes it easier: According to experts, attrition, or the number of employees leaving in the last 12 months, has fallen in the range of 17-18% in the technology industry.
Top management of IT companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, HCLTech and Tech Mahindra have told us that there is a decline in attrition percentage on a quarterly basis and this could translate into better operating margin and service delivery.
The major IT companies are due to announce their financial results for the December quarter starting with TCS on January 9.
Yes but: The trailing-twelve-month (LTM) decline numbers, which are published by top companies along with quarterly results, will continue to remain high in the near term for Indian IT companies before tapering off as it is calculated on an annual basis.
Spending has reached unprecedented levels reaching as much as 30% for some companies due to the demand for digitization projects caused by the pandemic. This put a significant strain on the margins of companies that were forced to hire replacements at higher wages and spend more on training costs.
Will not spare Biya if guidelines are violated: NCPCR chief
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) will hold Biju’s accountable following allegations that the edtech firm violated guidelines, chairman Priyank Kanoongo told us.
Get up to speed quickly: On Friday, NCPCR summoned the Bengaluru-based startup’s CEO Biju Raveendran over allegations of malpractices by the company’s sales team, which allegedly lured parents into buying Biju’s courses for their children.
The summons cited claims in a media report by the company’s clients, who said the online K-12 teacher took advantage of and defrauded them, eroding their savings and putting their futures at risk.
“We have received this complaint before. This is not the first time. Last time we simply wrote to the Ministry of Education. After this, the Ministry of Education released guidelines,” Kanoongo told us.
Next week’s hearing: The commission has asked Raveendran to appear before it in person on December 23 at 2 pm to answer the charges.
He was also ordered to provide details of all courses Biju runs for children, structure of these courses, fee details, number of students enrolled, refund policy, legal documents recognizing Biju as a valid edtech company and other documents.
TWEET OF THE DAY
The IT Ministry extends the deadline for public feedback on the data bill to January 2
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitI) on Saturday extended the last date for public consultation on the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (DPDPB), 2022 to January 2, 2023.
Why? The ministry announced that it was extending the deadline “in response to the requests of several interested parties.” The draft was first published on November 18. Feedback from the public was initially sought until December 17.
Long journey: The country’s data protection law was first conceived 11 years ago, and the drafting process was first started five years ago.
According to the DPDPB, any entity that collects data from users must obtain explicit consent for data processing. Such entities must also give users the option to opt out of such data processing and to delete stored data when consent is withdrawn.
Data subjects may store their data in any jurisdiction deemed safe by the government. The government will share the list from time to time.
Page Industries marks the threat from D2C innerwear brands
Page Industries, India’s largest innerwear firm, said direct-to-consumer companies could be serious competition from traditional and established rivals as consumers, especially the younger generation, increasingly shift to smaller and more nimble brands.
“We think D2C can be more serious competition than traditional competence because of the aspirations of that age group, social media, the kind of connection that resonates with their thinking, as well as agility,” said VS Ganesh, managing director of Page Industries, which runs Jockey and Speedo stores in India.
Zoom out: India’s $6.3 billion innerwear market is estimated to account for 9% of the total domestic fashion retail segment, but is highly fragmented and disorganized.
Once considered just basic apparel, this segment has grown on the back of work-from-home and hybrid work cultures, along with increased awareness of health, fitness and personal hygiene amid the pandemic.
Other important stories from our reporters
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India among fastest growing markets for Nutanik, CEO says: India is among the fastest-growing markets for hybrid multi-cloud firm Nutanik and will remain a growth center for the company, said Rajiv Ramaswamy, its chief executive officer.
Twitter to remove accounts created to promote social platforms: Twitter said on Sunday that it will remove accounts created solely for the purpose of promoting other social platforms and content that contains links or usernames. The move would affect content from social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram Meta Platforms. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey questioned the policy change.
The global choices we read
■ Apple is exploring allowing iPhone, iPad users to download apps outside its store (VSJ)
■ Welcome to digital nomadland (wired)
■ Elon Musk is the character of Jekyll and Hyde. And as Twitter boss, Hyde wins (The Guardian)