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Etsy makes debut in India: Although late, it faces no competition

Handicraft-focused marketplace Etsy has finally set up a base in India. The US-based platform has reportedly hired a team under Himanshu Wardhan who is in-charge of Indian operations. The team would expand seller base and accelerate engagements with thousands of existing Etsy sellers in the country.

Currently, Etsy claims to have 650,000 SKUs on Etsy from Indian sellers. Wardhan has been looking Etsy operations in India and other SEA countries for about 16 months. Previously, he was heading Craftsvilla operations, seller ecosystem and business development.

The newly formed entity will focus on creating an extensive artisan community that would sell via Etsy’s platform. The company also plans to train the sellers both offline and online, as well as allow free listing incentive to new sellers from the country.

A majority of Indian sellers on Etsy sell quilts, ethnic jewellery, fabrics, traditional clothes etc. The NASDAQ listed entity wants strong penetration in other categories. With 35 million buyers, Etsy opens buyers across the world to about 2 million creative entrepreneurs. Over 1.7 million of these are women entrepreneurs.

So far, many local players have tried copying Etsy’s model but none of them have gotten success. Craftsvilla used to position itself as Etsy of Asia but it had lost its track even after raising about $55 million risk capital from the likes of Sequoia Capital and others. Others, including IndianRoots (a NDTV owned entity), have also failed to make any significant dent.

With the Indian Internet population touching 500 million, many US and Chinese e-commerce companies believe that it’s a good time to set up base in India.

Since not a single online player from India has been able to build a community of handicraft and other creative entrepreneurs, Etsy enjoys massive opportunity. Meanwhile, creating community for such sellers is not a cakewalk as it requires a lot of groundwork and offline engagement. Going forward, it would be interesting to see how Etsy scales up in India.

The development was first reported by ET.

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