With growing popularity of affordable smartphones and improved internet penetration, online shopping is booming in the country. If the number of India's online shoppers reached 108 million last year, this year it is expected to go up by 115 per cent, according to an ASSOCHAM-Resurgent joint study.
The study found that the trend is driven by data consumption, improved logistics and above all huge discounts—thanks to the intense competition between e-commerce platforms. If earlier, online shopping was pretty much about just mobile phones, beauty products, clothes and fashion accessories, this is changing with time. Now, electrical appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines, too, find their way into the shopping carts. Online buying of tickets—for travel and cinema—is also another major trend.
The study covered respondents in large cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune among others.
The government may have tried to give a big push to digital money, but cash on delivery is the preferred mode of payment for 58 per cent of online shoppers.
As of now, about 40-45 per cent shoppers use the mobile phone for online shopping. By year end, the study stated, this figure could go up to 60-65 per cent. This should come as no surprise—earlier studies have shown India is among the world leaders when it comes to mobile internet usage. In fact, among G20 nations, India is the number one user of mobile internet.
Interestingly, cash on delivery is the preferred mode of payment for 58 per cent of online shoppers despite the government's push to popularise digital money.
The study also noted that year 2018 will see large scale growth in the Indian e-commerce sector with increased participation from people across the country. This industry will continue to drive more employment opportunities and contribute towards creating more entrepreneurs through the e-commerce marketplace model.
"Since the base is still quite low, there is a huge scope for growth year on year for quite some time. With improvement in logistics and more and more delivery channels, online shopping is bound to grow. No wonder, a huge amount of foreign investment is coming into the sector. It has become a multi-billion investment business. Investment in back end delivery channels, brand building, consumer research and building trade partners would be the key drivers," said ASSOCHAM Secretary General D.S. Rawat.