Daraz-SLASSCOM report on E-commerce adoption highlights pathways for the growth of digital commerce in Sri Lanka

May 2, 2023 at 10:26 AM

The report titled “E-commerce: A Driver of Inclusive Growth in Sri Lanka?” was presented to His Excellency President Ranil Wickramasinghe on 26 April 2023.  The Managing Director of Daraz Sri Lanka Mr. Rakhil Fernando, the co-authors of the report, Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja and Ms. Anishka De Zylva and the Director of International Affairs at the Presidential Secretariat Mr. Dinouk Colombage attended the meeting. This first in-depth study on the adoption and use of e-commerce in Sri Lanka during difficult economic times was launched at an event earlier in 2023 with Hon. Kanaka Herath, State Minister, Ministry of Technology, by Daraz Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM).

The presentation to the President highlighted several key findings from the study. First, that the spread of e-commerce is an island wide phenomenon with over 50% of the respondents in all provinces saying that they use e-commerce to purchase goods and services. Second, that the pandemic increased the use of e-commerce and this trend is set to deepen. Third, that online sellers are mostly young and start-up businesses. Fourth, that various obstacles hinder the use of e-commerce in the country such as non-users lacking the requisite skills to use e-commerce, the under-development of digital payment systems, the high cost of new smartphones and gaps in trade facilitation. Finally, that as the Sri Lankan economy stabilises, the digital economy and e-commerce can support new jobs and boost incomes particularly among the country’s youth. The discussion also highlighted progress made by neighbouring economies, particularly India and Vietnam, and recommendations were made on how Sri Lanka might strive to emulate their success.

Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, The Professorial Fellow in Economics and Trade at Gateway House, Mumbai and a Senior Research Associate at ODI Global, London, designed and co-authored the report together with Ms Anishka De Zylva, Head of Public Policy and Corporate Affairs at Daraz Sri Lanka. The survey was conducted by NielsenIQ Sri Lanka, under the supervision of Ms. Therica Miyanadeniya, Country Director of NielsenIQ Sri Lanka.

The report is based on the meticulous collection of primary data through an islandwide survey of a sample population of more than 4,500 participants undertaken between March 2022 and July 2022. The survey collected information in areas that are relevant to making business strategies and public policies covering the:  (i) the use of e-commerce across provinces and districts; (ii) the types of goods and services purchased; (iii) purchasing behaviour during the pandemic; (iv) user behaviour by characteristics; (v) the types of devices and payment methods used for e-commerce purchases; (vi) factors discouraging online purchasing; (vii) the use of e-commerce for selling goods and services; and (vii) the influence of government policy on e-commerce transactions from both a seller and consumer perspective.

The report is made available as a downloadable pdf file via the Daraz and SLASSCOM corporate websites to anyone interested in understanding the industry at a deeper level. Link https://bit.ly/3VsqaN5