Office hours boost Indian e-commerce

22 April 2014
NEW DELHI: Despite increasing adoption of smart mobile devices and improved connectivity in the home, online retailers in India have confirmed they are busiest during weekday afternoons, suggesting the office is the source of many purchases.

This occurs because online shoppers find it convenient to take advantage of office computers during breaks from work, but also because of familiarity with large screen desktops and the home delivery options on offer, retailers told the Economic Times.

They said over half of all online orders are made on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays before declining at weekends when shoppers visit physical stores, often having done their research online.

For example, eBay India, which has announced plans to create the world's largest trader base in India, receives most of its orders between 3pm and 6pm while one-third of Amazon's sales are made between noon and 3pm.

"E-commerce is a weekday shopping destination for most customers, while offline dominates on weekends," said Ajay Modani, co-founder of Capillary Technologies, the Bangalore-based online retail solutions firm.

His company's analysis found office-based PCs made up 80% of the time shoppers spent on e-commerce sites and Modani said it witnessed "spikes when people log in from offices" with repeat buyers following this trend heavily.

Sriram Ravi, head of digital marketing at Chennai-based Hasbro Clothing, agreed that it received about 20% of its orders at lunchtime and a "marked increase" during office closing hours when people used the last hour after work to browse and buy.

Same-day and weekend delivery timings also appear to be influencing online behaviour, according to Sandeep Komaravelly, vp of marketing at Snapdeal.com, the online marketplace based in New Delhi.

"When buying in office hours, buyers have already done their research [and] know what they want," he said. "Convenience of home delivery over the weekend makes it attractive to shop at work."

Smartphone usage is certainly on the rise, confirmed Pavan Sondur, CEO of Bangalore-based IT provider Unbxd (having increased to up to 30% of transactions since last year), yet it would appear shoppers still prefer the larger screen of a desktop and remain uncertain about some mobile apps even if they're available. 

Data sourced from Economic Times, Times of India; additional content by Warc staff
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