Shopping has undergone a sea of change in India in the past few years.
What was primarily a social activity involving a trip to the Indian markets has now turned into a digital activity for many Indians who are shopping at online marketplaces.
According to a report by Google and Forresteer Consulting, the number of online shoppers in India is expected to increase to 100 million by 2016, generating sales totalling a massive $15 billion.
E-commerce in India saw a major uptake when the Indian Railways provided the facility to book tickets online, way back in 2002. From rail tickets, we saw people progressing towards buying books, movie tickets and deals for brick and mortar establishments online. Back then, even early adopters would have scoffed at the idea of buying personal items like shoes and clothes online, reasoning that they needed to be tried on before being bought. With increased confidence to buy online among tier 1 and tier 2 cities, the journey from ‘brick to click’ has been so rapid that what was an alternative way of buying has now almost become mainstream.
Today, people buy books, clothing, household good and even their grocery online. And why not, when you can get your goods delivered to your doorstep within hours of ordering them?!
Moreover, consumers are not just buying SKUs of small ticket sizes but also going all out and buying their pricey wedding lehengas and bridal jewellery online! Proof lies in the sales graph of our company that continues to soar upwards month on month. That’s saying something about the rapid adoption of online shopping in India.
So what has caused this explosion in the number of people turning to online shopping in India?
In an age where time is money, people definitely want to save more and more of it. Online shopping can be done from the comfort of one’s home, without having to navigate through traffic or worrying about parking. The saved commute and window shopping time can actually be diverted towards other constructive activities. That’s a clear win in favour of e-commerce in India.
One of the things that online shopping in India has given the people is access to products that were previously not available in their immediate shopping vicinity. A villager with deep pockets had to visit one of the major Indian markets or malls in the nearest town to buy a pair of fancy imported sneakers. But now, she or he can order the same from an internet enabled smartphone and get them delivered to the doorstep - a perfect example of how e-commerce in India has solved one of the major pain points of the customer experience.
Today, even a person with some faint idea about shopping online will tell you that goods bought online are cheaper than those in the Indian markets. Sellers who save on showroom and personnel costs are able to offer their goods at competitive prices online and are giving the brick and mortar establishments a run for their money. Since manufacturers can save massive amounts by not having a physical establishment, there are many brands that have now launched products exclusively online and end up giving their customers more value for money than established brands that have a traditional supply chain in place.
Above this, marketplaces even burn their own cash and offer discounts in a bid to acquire more and more customers. In such a scenario, a customer would naturally cash in on the discounts online rather than shell out all that extra money by buying offline.
Given the massive discounts that are offered on products online, customers are also resorting to a new phenomenon called showrooming - visit a showroom, try on a product for fit and then purchase it online simply because there is a better deal there.
We are certain that a decade ago, nobody imagined that online shopping in India would see an adoption to this scale. Indian customer’s behaviour when they shop online is now almost a mirror reflection of the shopping trends in developed economies. The unprecedented number of people taking the online route to shop continues to surprise traditional business owners even today, as their sales dip, bit by bit, thanks to the boom of e-commerce in India. Given the trend, sellers are waking up to the potential of e-commerce in India and are slowly shifting to digital platforms to reach out to their customers.
As the internet usage in the country continues to increase, we are certain that the number of people adopting online shopping in India and spending online will continue to grow. We think it is a great push for the economy - increased spending that is accounted for in the system is always good news. Not just that, flourishing e-commerce in India means creation of more jobs in the country - a win-win for the economy!
At this point, we only hope that the trend continues.
Image credit: kotakmoney, infant-products