MUMBAI: Advertising, peer influence and recommendations are the main factors driving online shopping in India, according to a new study.

For What clicks with the online shopper, researcher Nielsen India surveyed 4,500 online shoppers in 12 markets, including Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Jaipur, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Ludhiana, Bhubaneswar, Vishakhapatnam and Patna.

It found that advertising was having an increasing impact on online purchases, with 50% of shoppers reporting they had purchased as a result, rising 11 points from 39% in the previous year, Afaqs! reported.

But it was still behind peer influence, up seven points from 46% to 53% and personal recommendations, up 11 points from 58% to 69%.

One third of frequent internet users also cited convenience as a reason to shop online. And in some categories, such as fashion, there had also been a sharp rise in consumers choosing to shop online (up from 19% to 31%) because they couldn't find a particular item in store.

This may also be a factor in another trend Nielsen India highlighted – that of consumers experimenting with different websites.

There has been a sharp rise in consumers trying sites they find new and interesting. In 2014, just 19% said they did this, but a year later the proportion had increased to 27%; and in the fashion and lifestyle category 30% had purchased a product as a result of a visit to a new website.

Special promotions and discounts also contribute to the fickleness of India's online shoppers: one in three said this was a reason for buying. And with venture capital money continuing to flow into the major ecommerce businesses, it may be some time before this changes.

Overall, however, there had been a slight increase in loyalty, with 51% of online shoppers returning to the same website every time, up from 46% a year earlier.

Data sourced from Afaqs!; additional content by Warc staff