India's online shoppers to treble

21 November 2014

NEW DELHI: India's ecommerce boom shows no signs of abating, according to a new report, despite many consumers expressing unhappiness with their online shopping experience.

Google India's study of online shopping growth was based on a survey of 6,859 online buyers and non-buyers across 50 cities. It predicted there would be 100m online shoppers by 2016, up from the current figure of 35m, and the industry would be worth around $15bn, Indian Express reported.

Most of this will come via mobile, which Google India MD Rajan Anandan said was "driving growth in every single internet product entity".

Shopping queries from mobile, for example, had grown from 24% in 2012 to 57% in 2014. The report also noted that seven in ten respondents in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities planned to buy online during the next 12 months; in addition, women buyers typically spend twice as much as men in Tier 1 and one in four is already buying on mobile.

The motivations for shopping online ranged from practical – 65% cited convenience and 64% the range of products available – to prestige – 60% opted to buy online in order to improve their social status.

But there are some major hurdles that ecommerce businesses will need to address, as 62% of buyers were unhappy with their shopping experience and 67% complained about the complexity of the returns process. Among non-buyers, 55% said they didn't trust the quality of products sold online.

Delivery needed to be improved, agreed Sahil Barua, CEO at Delhivery. "Older models of distribution do not work any more," he told Pitch. "We need to simplify processes and also see what mobile can do for the supply side."

The industry needed to act now if it was to satisfy the expected growth in shopper numbers, said Nitin Bawankule, Google India industry director for e-commerce, local and classifieds. "Improved customer experience across all touch points, easy to use mobile apps can create a strong pull for non-buyers to shop online in Tier I and Tier 2 cities," he added.

Data sourced from Indian Express, The Hindu, Pitch; additional content by Warc staff