In a recent article, Sahr Said, founder of BeautyHooked, was quoted as saying “It is estimated that by 2017, the size of our e-commerce market will reach over $600 million from its current size of $30 million spent on online purchases annually”.
Whilst Said is a respected and insightful individual, no matter which way you look at it, that quote is a bold one. Moving from $30 million to $600 million equates to a 1,900% increase – and that’s supposedly going to happen in just two years.
But although this estimate is bold – and some may say unachievable – the reality is, when you take a look at the facts a little bit further, you soon realise just how realistic an almost 2,000% growth increase is.
The population is young – and innovative
Look at Pakistani as a country in general. Away from digital, e-commerece or any form of technology at all, two thirds of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 30. It’s genuinely a young country in terms of workforce age.
And although this isn’t to say young instantly means better, it’s a common understanding that younger generations are more accepting of change. They want to drive forward new ways of working and embrace all that there is around them.
As such, with the majority of the population being under 30 years old, we’re finding entrepreneurs coming up with solutions that are changing the entire way the country operates, both on minor and major levels.
Tech investment is huge
Consider the country’s growing digital infrastructure and general use, too.
In 2003, just 5% of the whole country had access to the internet. Fast forward to 2013 and that had more than doubled to 10.9% – and predictions show such an aggressive level of growth is anticipated to continue.
Pakistan’s technology industry is already well regarded and somewhat self sustaining (the economic crisis saw it barely affected), but investment in it is only continuing – the country are said to have spent Rs. 4.6 billion (approximately US$70 million) on IT, with a key focus on e-government, HR and overall infrastructure development.
The investment isn’t just being made by internal parties, either. In 2014, it was reported that China were to invest US$20 billion in the country’s energy infrastructure, and more recently it was highlighted that they were increasing such investment to US$46 billion, and incorporating innovation projects, too.
With Pakistan once considered a country with limited opportunities, this is clearly not the case any more. Economic giants are seeing the potential in the country, and it’s investments such as these that do nothing but aid the growth of practically every industry and sector possible.
When you consider Sahr Said’s initial comments of a 1,900% growth, it’s completely understandable if your first thoughts are it’s unrealistic. Especially when it’s said to happen in just two years.
Yet as with many estimations in the technology industry, a little thought and research shows just how achievable it may actually be. Pakistan, although having a rich history, is very much a new, burgeoning country in numerous different senses – but the reality is, the country already has a fantastic digital economy, and with a little more care, attention and nurturing, there is very little reason why the country’s e-commerece revenues won’t grow to US$600 million by 2017.