Using E-commerce to Promote Exports of Pakistani Fashion Products

This report titled “Using E-Commerce to Promote Exports of Pakistani Fashion Products” is an in-house publication of The Pakistan Business Council (PBC). It is a part of the PBC’s “Make-in-Pakistan” initiative which has three pillars; “Make Better”, “Serve Better” & “Grow Better”. This Report concentrates on the B2C (Retail) E-commerce of Fashion Products and within that on cross-border E-commerce trade.

The Report aims to answer the following questions:

  • What is E-Commerce?
  • What is cross-border E-Commerce?
  • What is meant by the term Fashion Products?
  • Which companies from Pakistan are major players in E-Commerce?
  • Which are Pakistan’s major markets for cross-border E-Commerce?
  • What are the major findings of this Study?
  • Which are the major recommendations for promoting exports using E-Commerce?

What is E-Commerce?

E-commerce (Electronic Commerce) is defined as the activity of electronically buying or selling of products using online services or the internet.  Among the various categories of E-commerce, B2C E-commerce receives the most attention due to its simplicity and familiarity.

In 2022, global E-commerce sales were estimated at about $5.5 trillion, accounting for about 19.7% of total global retail sales.

What is cross-border E-Commerce?

Cross Border Trade occurs when products are sold to customers beyond the geographical boundaries of a country. It can be B2C (Business 2 Consumer) or B2B (Business 2 Business), this report will focus on B2C. Cross border trade benefits both sellers and brands in providing access to new markets, increased sales, higher revenues, all year demand, brand visibility and finally to help gain a competitive advantage over rivals in international markets.

In 2021, the global cross-border E-commerce trade was estimated to be about $784.6 billion and was expected to grow at a CAGR of 26.2% between 2022 & 2031  reaching $7.9 trillion by 2031.

What is meant by the term Fashion Products?

Fashion Products have three major categories; these are Apparel, Footwear, and Accessories. Accessories include women, men and children clothing accessories, bags, eye wear, watches, jewelry, etc.

Globally, most revenue in retail E-commerce has been generated through Fashion sales, wherein Apparel constituted 57.3% of the revenue, followed by Accessories (29.3%) and Footwear (13.5%) in 2022.

Which companies from Pakistan are major players in E-Commerce?

In Pakistan, the top 5 websites in terms of Domestic Net Sales were all websites selling Fashion Products in 2021. The top three websites;, and hold 2% of the online revenue in Pakistan (ecommerceDB, 2022).

Top E-commerce Websites in Pakistan in Terms of Domestic Net Sales in 2021

2021 Website Owner Net Sales Market Share Total Revenue Growth Revenue Growth %
1 Limelight $50.4m 0%-5% >US$50m 39.0%
2 Gul Ahmed Textile Mills,ltd $48.1m 0%-5% >US$75m 33.8%
3 Khaadi Pvt.,Ltd $28.7m <0% >US$50m 26.7%
4 SS Fashion Resources $23.4m <0% >US$20m 33.1%
5 Alkaram Textile Mills $22.1m <0% > US$50m 31.1%

Which are Pakistan’s major markets for cross-border E-Commerce?

Main markets for Pakistani Fashion using the E-commerce platform are the U.S.A., the U.K., the U.A.E., Canada, Australia, Europe and Gulf countries. Even though Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E have the highest number of Overseas Pakistanis, the sales of Fashion products are mainly dependent on the purchasing power of the diaspora, the currency conversion rate, and the customs regulations of that country.

What are the major findings of this Study?

  • Covid-19 has boosted domestic E-commerce fashion sales
  • Pakistani eastern wear is well-established amongst the Pakistani diaspora
  • Pakistani fashion products are catering narrowly to the Pakistani diaspora
  • The demand for eastern wear among the diaspora is cyclical
  • International marketing strategies are dependent on international platforms, such as Facebook, Google, etc.
  • Logistics are inefficient & expensive.
  • There is a shortage of tech talent for local E-commerce merchants
  • Government processes are mostly manual
  • There is a disconnect between merchants, government and the financial sector
  • Pakistani fashion manufacturers lack the expertise needed to cater to a wider international customer base.
  • Pakistan’s poor international reputation & the lack of a complaint redressal mechanism impacts demand
  • Smooth product return mechanism for international orders is not available
  • The requirement of 3-D verification for credit card payments reduces online sales
  • Multiple websites using same or similar sounding names as those of leading brands cause suspicion in the minds of buyers
  • Prices displayed on websites are exclusive of customs duties and vat
  • Target market is primarily female
  • There is a lack of standardized dress sizes
  • Short window to realize export proceeds impacts ability to stock to sell in major markets

Which are the major recommendations for promoting exports using E-Commerce?

  • Training and awareness sessions for fashion designers and merchants
  • Facilitate international logistics in Pakistan
  • Creation of third-party service providers in Pakistan to handle specific E-commerce tasks
  • Banking, and customs procedures need to be digitalized
  • Revision of SBP and customs laws in consultation with merchants
  • Promotion of Pakistani fashion through collaborations with international designers
  • Issuance of certification or badges to genuine websites of fashion brands
  • Improvements in Pakistani payment gateways
  • Facilitating digital marketing services providers in Pakistan
  • Development of ancillary products, fusion wear and western wear brands
  • Industry needs to implement standardization
  • Focus towards a more diversified client base

The PBC is a private sector not-for-profit advocacy platform set-up in 2005 by 14 (now 98) of Pakistan’s largest businesses. PBC’s research-based advocacy supports measures which improve Pakistani industry’s regional and global competitiveness. More information about PBC, its members, objectives and activities can be found on its website: