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ONDC to digitize value chain, nourish the ecosystem for kiranas to survive and thrive ..

Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) has the potential to digitize the entire value system and create an open, inclusive and competitive digital commerce marketplace by promoting interoperability, said Sanjeev Athreeya, head of retail and consumer practice at ThoughtWorks India. The government launched the pilot across 5 cities in April. ONDC is set to democratize eCommerce in India as a potential alternative to giants like Amazon, Flipkart. Athreeya said it is an initiative to empower the smallest and farthest business  owners with access to digital commerce  tools in a platform. ONDC will unbundle the interactions of buyers and sellers. On ONDC, a seller can interact with multiple buyers and vice-versa, which will allow members to connect with multiple players without having to pay a disproportionate fee to a proprietary platform. It will help kirana stores to have a digital storefront at a minimal cost.

Metaverse to generate $5 trillion in economic value by 2030, Mckinsey

Metaverse may generate up to $5 trillion in economic value by 2030 in both consumer and enterprise segments, consultancy firm Mckinsey & Company estimated in its latest June report. Mckinsey said that this is equivalent to the GDP of some economies like Japan. more than $120 billion have been invested in metaverse in the first five months of 2022, which is twice the $57 billion invested in the entire CY2021. Retail, healthcare, media, and telecommunications are some of the industries that are most likely to be impacted by metaverse. Mckinsey estimated that metaverse’s “market impact” on e-commerce will be between $2 trillion and $2.6 trillion by 2030. Similarly, the market impact on advertising is expected to be $144 billion to $206 billion, while on gaming it is anticipated to be $108 billion to $125 billion and on academic virtual learning, it is expected to be $180 billion to $270 billion. Mckinsey also conducted a survey involving more than 3,400 consumers and executives. Out of which, 60% of consumers who are using early versions of the metaverse said that they are excited to see their daily activities on metaverse. Around 95% of business leaders said that they are expecting a positive impact of metaverse on their industry, while 61% said that it will moderately change their industry.

Over half of Indian users consume news on social media

A significant number of Indian audiences use social media apps such as YouTube (53%) and WhatsApp (51%) for accessing news, according to findings from a survey by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. India is a strongly mobile-focused market, with 72% accessing news through smartphones and only 35% via computers. News aggregator platforms and apps such as Google News (53%), Daily Hunt (25%), InShorts (19%), and NewsPoint (17%) have become an important way to access news and are valued for convenience. Further, the digital market saw an overall growth of 29% in 2021, with advertising and subscription revenues growing at 29% each. Other than YouTube and WhatsApp, Facebook (43%), Instagram (32%), Twitter (22%) and Telegram (21%) are important social media apps for news. Overall, 60% of consumers share news via social media, messaging or email. Online platforms remain the source of news for 84% of the respondents, with social media accounting for 63% on its own, television remaining a choice for 59% and print for 49% of consumers. Other than smartphones and computers, 15% also access news via tablets.

Only 12% companies using Artificial Intelligence are at an ‘AI maturity’ level

Organizations across verticals are depending and investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI), to enhance customer service, for business and sales forecasting, for better surveillance, to increase overall productivity and a lot more. A study by Accenture, in 2021,  says that only 12% are using it at an AI maturity level that achieves a strong competitive advantage. The study points out that most of the organizations that use AI are still experimenting with the technology. “When it comes to making the most of AI’s full potential and their own investments, most organizations are barely scratching the surface,“ it said. The study notes that AI maturity is the degree to which organizations outperform their peers in a combination of AI-related foundational and differentiating capabilities. These capabilities include the technology – data, AI, cloud – as well as organizational strategy, Responsible AI, C-suite sponsorship, talent and culture. AI adoption rapidly matured during the pandemic, yet to create more value with AI and use it to reinvent the enterprise, companies require a clear leadership vision combined with effective change management and human capital reinvention.

FinTech funding downtrend continues in May; RazorPay leads, followed by Digit

According to various media reports, the funding raised by fintech startups declined almost 45% to $1.77 Bn during January-March 2022 from $3.2 Bn raised in the December quarter of 2022, while the average ticket size stood at $24.5 Mn in Q1 2022, down 40% from $40.5 Mn in Q4 2021. On a month-on-level, funding for fintech startups declined 75% to $153.6 Mn in May from $624.5 Mn in April, a report by Inc42 highlighted. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Moore Strategic Ventures picked up stakes in digital payments firm Razorpay as part of a $75 million secondary share sale, topping the list of fundraisers by home grown fintech startups last month. In May, Razorpay announced its fourth and largest Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) worth $75 million (or Rs 578 crore) in which 650 existing and former employees sold their shares. As a close second, general  insurance provider Digit Insurance raised $53 million (or Rs 417 crore) led by existing investors Sequoia Capital and India Infoline in a fresh round valuing the five-year-old firm at over $4 billion.

Brand trust is more important than ever for digital-first consumers, says study

As customers navigate a rapidly changing world, the questions of trust, values, and integrity are increasingly impacting their relationships with companies. That’s reflected in a recent report which revealed that nine out of 10 Indian customers believe trust becomes the ‘key imperative’ when dealing with brands. The report also said that brands need to gear up on their digital-first customer engagement strategies so they can stay ahead of the race in today’s time. The findings are part of US-based customer relationship management (CRM) company, Salesforce’s fifth edition of its State of the Connected Customer report released last month. Releasing the India-specific findings, the company said that 92% of Indians respondents believe that trust becomes important in today’s digital-first world. The report further showed that over 80% of respondents in India have purchased products in new ways since 2020, as they are looking for a seamless experience and increased personalisation. These include using digital touchpoints and technologies like augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and seamless online payment systems effectively and in a more secured manner. The report also said that as priorities and behaviours shift, brand loyalties are undergoing challenges, with 72% consumers reportedly switching brands at least once in the past year.

Google announces accelerator programme for women-led startups

Google announced a startup accelerator program for women founders which will help them address challenges such as fundraising and hiring. The inaugural batch of the ‘Google for Startups Accelerator – India Women Founders’ will accept up to 20 women-founded co-founded startups in the country, and support them through a three-month program. The program is part of a larger effort by Google towards improving the representation of women across different sections of India’s digitally-trained workforce — be it entrepreneurship, professionals looking to upskill or young graduates seeking a headstart on their career, Google said. The ultimate objective is about making technology universally relevant and helpful, it added.

Cyber insurance is getting tougher to get, even as attacks increase

Insurance providers in India, wary of the growing number of cybersecurity attacks on Indian organizations, are increasing the cost of cyber insurance in the country and stepping up compliance norms. According to industry stakeholders and experts, insurers have seen record highs in the number of cyber insurance claims made by companies hit by ransomware attacks and more. For instance, ICICI Lombard has seen an increase in the cost of premiums by 40-60% post pandemic, said Sanjay Datta, chief, underwriting and claims, at the firm. A spokesperson for a second cybersecurity insurance firm said that unlike insurance claims for vehicular accidents, which usually amount in the lakhs, cyber insurance claims run up to $2-3 million at a time. The number of cyber policy claims and reporting have increased by over 220% year-on-year between 2020 and 2021, according to Surya Narayan Saha, research manager, financial insights at market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC). According to the company’s forecasts in April this year, insurers are projected to spend above $20 million in 2022 on cyber risk management.

Snapchat introduces Dynamic Travel Ads

Snapchat unveils Dynamic Travel Ads to all advertisers to help them reach a key audience who are keen to explore new places. As part of their continued investment in their performance solutions, this is the first category expansion outside of eCommerce within the current Dynamic Ads offering by Snapchat, which will specifically serve hotels, airlines, tours, and online travel agencies (OTAs). It’s been a challenging few years with travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders but travel-related searches are on the rise again. In fact, 76% of Snapchatters in the US are making plans to have returned to their pre-pandemic behaviours.  A GlobalWebIndex study also shows that Snapchatters are more likely to travel than users of other platforms, millennials and Gen-Z are leading this push. Research conducted showed that these Snapchatters are 37% more likely to book travel after seeing an advertisement. And to bridge the gap between these Snapchatters and their travel plans, Snapchat has introduced Dynamic Travel Ads to all advertisers to help them reach a key audience keen to explore new places.

Amazon India’s next bet to be more local stores, social commerce to onboard 500 millions users

The local arm of US ecommerce major Amazon, which completed nine years of operations in India, will increase its focus on local stores and social commerce to tap into the “next 500 million consumers” in India, Manish Tiwary, country manager, India consumer business, at Amazon India. “There is a set of people that will require a local influencer to help them shop. If you see the first part of the journey, the metro penetration moved faster. In the social commerce piece — where an uncle or an aunt or a cousin living in your building actually helps you shop — we feel very good about how we can scale it up,” he said.

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