B2B startup Udaan witnesses huge surge in business across Bharat

Around 250 sellers under the lifestyle business achieved sales worth Rs 1 crore each on the platform in 2020
Udaan, India’s largest business-to-business e-commerce platform, witnessed a huge surge in business across its food, lifestyle and electronics business in the year 2020. The three categories together accounted for over 1350 sellers from across India, primarily Bharat (tier 2 and tier 3 cities and rural India), registering a sales turnover of more than Rs 1 crore each on the Udaan platform during last year.

“With around 65-70 per cent of the country’s population residing in Bharat, who are catered to by small kirana and retail shops, it is extremely important that these small retailers are brought into the digital ecosystem to benefit from the e-commerce scale,” said Sujeet Kumar, co-founder, Udaan. “This is what Udaan is doing and we call this ‘Bharat ka e-commerce’. We are humbled to see the positive impact of our initiatives on small businesses of Bharat, who are growing and expanding their business on Udaan.”

About 700 sellers under the food business achieved sales worth Rs 1 crore on the platform in 2020. Under the food business, 29 million orders were placed from 50 cities by over 1.5 million kirana shops, HoReCa (hotel, restaurant and cafe) and retailers. Udaan’s daily food business volume has crossed 8000 tonnes, making it the largest grocery placer in the country. There was an over 50 per cent increase in the number of buyers in the food category during the past 6 months. Overall the food business has witnessed a growth of over 500 per cent during the last two years.

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Kumar said around 90-95 per cent of the country’s population depends upon neighbourhood stores and retail stores for their everyday consumption. This includes grocery, medicines, vegetables and garments. This also got highlighted during the pandemic when these stores became the lifeline of the country.

“At Udaan our endeavour is to empower the small businesses of Bharat by leveraging the power of technology and benefits of internet-scale,” said Kumar.

Around 250 sellers under the lifestyle business achieved sales worth Rs 1 crore each on the platform in 2020. Over 230 million products under the lifestyle category were sold last year. About 20 per cent of the total lifestyle retailers present in India placed orders for 26 lakh products on the platform. Under this category,10 million comfort wear products, 10 million slippers, 9 million T-shirts, 4 million shirts were sold across 900 cities. The lifestyle category alone added 1,00,000 new users on the platform during last year.

The pandemic also resulted in protective masks becoming the largest product category sold on the platform. Over 25 million masks were shipped to more than 20,000 retailers across India during the year. Over 3 million pieces of masks were shipped to Guwahati, Patna, and Kolkata each, while Visakhapatnam, Bengaluru, Lucknow, and Chennai saw a cumulative sale of around 4.5 million masks.

The firm also helped more than 400 electronics goods sellers get sales worth Rs 1 crore each in 2020, crediting its growth to demand by people working at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the electronics business category, the firm shipped over 161 million products during the last year. About 2.7 million retailers placed orders for 53 lakh electronics products on the platform. Around 7.8 million feature phones, 2.2 million smartphones and over 120 million accessories and consumer electronic products were shipped across 900 towns and cities and 12,000 pin codes.

Kumar said the challenges faced by small businesses of Bharat are unique to the country. Udaan is trying to solve these localised problems with native solutions leveraging technology. “We are digitising the trade ecosystem so that the small businesses of Bharat get the level playing field and enjoy the benefits of e-commerce,” said Kumar.

Founded in 2016, Udaan now has a national reach to 15 million manufacturers, 25–30 million retailers, 10–12 million institutional businesses like offices, schools and HoReCa. The aim is to empower small businesses with technology, financial inclusivity, and supply chain capabilities to compete in an increasing tech and digital world. Udaan itself competes with players such as  Flipkart Wholesale, Amazon and Reliance’s JioMart which are also making huge inroads into this space.

Flipkart Wholesale which was launched a few months ago is now betting big to tap the grocery business in the country. The platform which went live with the fashion category in September last year is now also offering grocery on its app. The aim is to provide kiranas and small retailers one-stop access to a wide selection of products using technology.

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