In recent years, India has retained its position as one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, leading to fierce competition among retailers seeking to cater to the country’s ever-expanding band of middle-class consumers.

For example, figures from eMarketer last year predicted that as more people in India used mobile phones for online shopping, e-commerce sales would grow by as much as 129 per cent in 2015, increasing to $14 billion overall.

As a result of the country’s rising middle-class population and the growing penetration of mobile devices helping to drive people online, the digital shopper community in India was set reach more than 82 million by the end of 2015, according to eMarketer.

As online spending increases and companies strive to deliver goods to consumers more efficiently, profitably and quickly than competitors, a new shift is occurring in the retail supply chain - the Age of Disruption.

Fuelled by the widespread availability of mobile technology and increasing competition to be the last-mile logistics provider of choice for e-commerce platforms, technology-enabled disrupters such as Uber are starting to pick up a limited amount of logistics work from freight forwarders, says Loadstar

In China, Uber – often viewed with suspicion by many in the logistics industry – recently reached a deal with Didi Chuxing that will free up Uber’s capital for investment in the company’s other target markets, such as India.

Elsewhere, Amazon recently announced its intention to increase its investment in India by $3 billion, shortly before it was reported that it had overtaken local market leader Flipkart to become the biggest online retailer in the country.

The Age of Disruption

Although some last-mile logistics offerings are still at an early stage, the continued investment by companies in their Indian operations threatens significant disruption for established logistics and e-commerce providers.

As businesses seek to take advantage of rapid advances in e-commerce to remain competitive, offerings such as ‘UberRUSH’ – an on-demand, last-mile fulfilment service – allow them to participate in the ‘Uberisation’ of supply chain by experimenting with small-scale e-fulfilment on high value or extra-urgent city deliveries. 

Amazon is also focusing attention on e-fulfilment in India, recently introducing its Prime same-day-delivery service to more than 100 cities.

With over 80 million online shoppers, e-commerce is gradually eating into overall retail sales in India. In 2014, e-commerce sales in India stood at just 0.8 per cent of overall retail sales, but this figure was expected to more than double to 1.7 per cent by the end of 2015. By 2019, eMarketer expects the e-commerce share of Indian retail to touch 4.4 per cent. Globally, the overall e-commerce market this year is expected to grow at 129 per cent, against overall retail growth of a mere 14 per cent.

To explore these trends in greater depth and examine what this Age of Disruption means for retailers and logistics providers alike, Mark will be participating as Keynote Speaker and opening day Conference Chairman at the forthcoming Express, Logistics & Supply Chain Conclave (ELSC) in Mumbai.

Held during 21-22 September, this 10th anniversary edition of the ELSC Conclave adopts the theme “Uberisation of the Supply Chain – The Age of Disruption”.

As Asia’s largest end-to-end logistics and supply chain conference, the event will incorporate several separate industry forums alongside the main conference and the ELSC Awards. The two-day gathering provides delegates the opportunity to attend interactive panel discussions on the major challenges facing the industry, including delivering end-to-end supply chain visibility and managing growing complexity in the global supply chain. 

During the conference, Mark will deliver the keynote presentation “Exploring future directions for Global Supply Chains” – drawing on practical insights from his book, Global Supply Chain Ecosystems, and interpreting what these developments mean for all those involved in supply chain across Asia.

“The 'Uberisation' of the supply chain, which leverages technology to calibrate supply and demand of key resources in real time is just one of the many exciting – and challenging – changes we will witness as we head into the Age of Disruption,” said Mark. “As the pace of growth in India continues its meteoric rise, businesses from mobile phone manufacturers to online retailers alike are competing to make the most of the opportunities presented by this rapidly growing consumer market.

“As businesses seek to capture the next opportunity, traditional logistics models in India are being disintermediated. In particular, e-commerce providers are competing to offer more efficient last-mile delivery services, either by harnessing existing logistics models or taking advantage of India’s technological progress to develop their own. With online shoppers approaching 100 million digital consumers and retail e-commerce sales projected to reach USD 80 billion by 2020, the opportunities in India are staggering!”

Reader discount offers

We have arranged a special 20% discount for readers planning to join Mark at the ELSC Conclave in Mumbai. To take advantage of this offer, visitors should use the discount code ‘MM2016’ when purchasing tickets on the ELSC website. 

Special 40% discount off Mark Millar's book Global Supply Chain Ecosystems

- ELSC conference delegates can enjoy a special 40% discount on advance orders of Mark's book Global Supply Chain Ecosystems – commissioned by leading business publisher Kogan Page of London – which has been purchased in more than 40 countries and earned praise from industry experts around the world.

Pre-order online and collect at the conference, where Mark will personally sign your copy – order online here and save USD 23.50 (40%).

Fresh opportunities for the logistics sector in India – also see our recent news story to find out more about how India's logistics sector is gearing up for the rapid increase in online shopping– 'India's e-commerce growth brings fresh opportunities for warehousing and logistics'.