E-Commerce Booming in Pakistan as Indigenous Artists Find Buyers

Accessing mainstream markets and connecting with buyers was quite difficult for the talented and skilled local crafts group and local communities. Reaching sellers and distributors was more than a headache for craftsmen belonging from remote areas of Pakistan. The arrival of mobile internet changed all that as it made its way into villages and sub-urban areas across the country.

The availability of and accessibility to the web has eliminated the middle man, and the local artisan can directly contact retailers and buyers.

One such recent example is the work of women from Northern Chitral as they gain seamless access to mainstream market. The region is not only considered among the most conservative in Pakistan but is also equally inaccessible. However, with the availability of 3G and 4G network, the Chitrali women have been able to use their skills and become the most unlikely profiteers from the e-commerce boom. They are now able to market and sell their products at their convenience of their homes.

These women from the Hindu Kush Mountains were weaving and stitching beautiful scarves and fabrics for many decades, sketching the beauty of mountains on clothes and apparels. But they were either unable to sell their products beyond their region or get deserved profit from the wholesalers.

Now, with their products listed on multiple online platforms and virtual shopping stores, they have gained access to a whole new range of customers. These indigenous artists are now able to earn respectable money and due credits.

All this is happening due to the budding online market in the country. According to the annual report of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the first quarter of 2015 witnessed a whopping 123 percent increase in smart phone shipments. Moreover, the number of broadband subscribers has also soared to 26 million people, as per the Information Technology (IT) ministry, with broadband Internet penetration increasing from three percent to more than fifteen percent.

The arrival and increase in broadband services in Pakistan has had a positive impact on the Pakistan’s economic growth. Citing World Band studies, the IT ministry showed a 10 percent increase in high-speed Internet connection, which may boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by as much as 1.38 percent.

It is imperative to note that the e-commerce industry is at the initial stages in Pakistan as compared to its neighboring countries like India and China. Despite being launched only three years back, the online marketplace can boast of more than 3,000 transactions per day, with more than 11 million unique shoppers in 2015.

Women of Pakistan are already seeing the benefits of online market places. Many house wives and stay-at-home girls are running their online clothing and jewelry stores from home. E-commerce offers even greater opportunities for the country with two thirds of its population, almost 135 million of a total of approximately 200 million, being under the age of 30, and well-versed with the many facets of smart technology, along with the ability to use it to their advantage. As this generation continues to mature, it will further exploit the multi-fold opportunities that the world wide web offers.

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Categories: e-Commerce, Artists, Sewing and Knitting

Tags: e-commerce, pakistan, women


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