FedEx Survey Shows Indian SMEs Believe Growth in E-Commerce to Continue, Even as COVID Restrictions Lift


FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, shared the findings of a recent small and medium enterprise (SME)-focused survey in India. The FedEx-commissioned survey was conducted by the independent research firm Dun & Bradstreet India to identify trends in e-commerce and digital adoption among SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey reveals a sense of optimism among SMEs in India, largely driven by the growth in e-commerce sales, with 30% of small businesses and 40% of medium businesses seeing a rise in e-commerce sales since lockdowns began. The pandemic and its resulting restrictions have led to a shift in consumer behavior towards e-commerce, with 35% of small businesses and 54% of medium businesses surveyed believing that e-commerce sales will improve their financial growth following COVID-19.

During this festive season, SMEs are enhancing their e-commerce capabilities and rethinking their online shopping strategies in anticipation of significant sales. Thirty-four percent of surveyed SMEs expect strong peak season demand. This matches the findings published by Redseer, which stated that peak season sales in India are expected to almost double this year, reaching $7 billion in gross merchandise value compared to $3.8 billion in the same period last year[1]. With the expected continued rise in e-commerce sales, 80% of medium and 58% of small businesses in the FedEx-commissioned survey also believe that increased buying behavior on e-commerce platforms will continue following the pandemic.

SMEs are also embracing digital solutions, with 76% of small businesses and 60% of medium businesses stating that they are seeing a rise in digital payments received since the start of the pandemic. Digital wallets are also seeing greater adoption, with higher rates among small businesses (28%), than medium businesses (7%).

Commenting on the survey results, Mohamad Sayegh, vice president Operations for FedEx Express in India said, “Throughout COVID-19, we have seen that consumers are increasingly shopping from home, and with continued travel limitations and efforts to control the spread of the virus likely to prevent people from visiting family and friends this festive season, more gifts are likely to be shipped this year, rather than delivered in person.”

“With the expected continued surge in e-commerce sales, FedEx has been working with businesses to encourage their customers to shop and ship early. We are confident our global and domestic networks will support the demands of each business and their customers.” he added.

The value of fast and secure shipping is also a consideration for both shoppers and the businesses selling online. The survey highlighted that 41% of SMEs believe that their customers would pay more for faster delivery, making the choice of the right logistics service provider with the ability to support business growth driven by time-sensitive shipments a priority for businesses.

FedEx has a long history of supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses and is committed to help them reach their full potential. FedEx has held several editions of their Small Business Grant Contest in India, which provides small businesses with the inspiration and financial resources to take their businesses global, helping them to grow their footprint and sharpen their competitive edge.

FedEx has also organized the SME Connect series, a knowledge-sharing and thought leadership platform for SME customers in Surat, Udaipur, and Chennai. The SME Connect series also provides a forum for these businesses to interact with industry experts for solution oriented discussions to support their businesses and future growth.

About the Research Study

Dun & Bradstreet India carried out in-depth interviews with the senior executives of 120 small and medium businesses across 18 Indian cities, and analyzed the information, to identify the trends and challenges they saw in catering to both domestic and international markets during the COVID-19 pandemic, between September – November 2020. Businesses with revenue up to INR 500 million were considered as small, and revenue in the range of INR 501 million to INR 2,500 million were considered as medium businesses.