India’s fledgling e-commerce market has lately been all about big numbers—huge valuations, massive investments, stupendous sales and glowing projections.
And so, while the Bansals of Flipkart and Bahl of Snapdeal have swiftly become household names, the unsung heroes of India’s e-commerce boom—the thousands of nameless, faceless delivery men who brave traffic, weather and demanding deadlines—have rarely been acknowledged.
Less than a week after closing its Great Online Shopping Festival 2014, Google has just put out a beautiful two-minute video chronicling the lives of India’s e-commerce delivery men—and thanked them with spiffy, custom-made helmets.
While some e-commerce firms such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal have their own delivery teams, many startups are utilizing the services of third-party logistics companies as they expand. Over the next five years, close to 75,000 people could be employed (pdf) in e-commerce warehousing and logistics.
The next time you see a uniformed young man with a massive backpack weaving through traffic on a motorcycle, remember that he isn’t just a delivery man. Instead, think of him as the backbone of India’s booming billion dollar e-commerce business.