“We are very confident of exceeding our goal of one million incremental jobs by 2025, over and above the 700,000 that we had in India before the announcement (in January 2020),” Amit Agarwal, global senior VP and country head, Amazon India, told ET in a chat on Thursday.
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Apart from jobs, Amazon said it also enabled exports worth $1 billion from India over the past 12 months, bringing the total cumulative exports from India to $3 billion now. Bezos had committed to exporting goods
worth $10 billion from the country by 2025. As for digitising 10 million MSMEs by the middle of the decade, Agarwal said Amazon has breached the quarter mark, with 2.5 million small businesses digitised by its platform so far.
While Amazon did not share how much of the $1 billion it had committed to achieving these goals has been spent so far, Agarwal said the online retailer had spent more capital than it had planned to over the past year because of the pandemic.
While focusing on jobs and digitisation of small businesses, Agarwal said growth has continued to be robust for Amazon in India.
“It would be incorrect to measure it (current demand) relative to the peak during the first shutdown, because then there weren’t any other alternatives for consumers to shop,” Agarwal said. “(That said) despite the increased (online) shopping last year, we’ve been able to continue growing. I would say demand has steadily increased quarter-over-quarter despite things opening up.”
On the impact of the second wave of Covid-19 cases that has gripped India over the past few weeks, Agarwal said that they were seeing a spike in consumer demand for groceries and other essentials, but it was still too early to call out clear trends.
Agarwal said that more than spikes in demand, there has been a structural shift in the way people buy things. Those that shopped online during the first wave stayed on to shop more on even as Covid-19 cases fell and offline stores opened.
“The first wave was different because many customers were shopping online for the first time. Since then many customers have started shopping online and we’ve seen over the last 12 months that more than 85% of our customers are from small towns, more than 55% of our orders are from small towns and three out of five (60%) Prime members are now from small towns,” Agarwal said.
The company has also seen an acceleration in MSMEs signing up to sell on its platform over the past year. Agarwal added that Amazon had added 250,000 new sellers and 50,000 offline shops over this period. “We are on track to increase the number of (offline) shops by more than 100,000 in the next few months,” he added.