NEW DELHI: Ecommerce habits are evolving in India, as greater numbers of consumers across the country use the web to make purchases in a diverse range of categories, a study by eBay has revealed.

The online auction site boasts 3m customers in 3,878 Indian cities, and 23,000 sellers. Over 2m products are available on its pages each day, and the company has now drawn together data covering the year to June, 30 2011.

Muralikrishnan B, manager of eBay India, said: "If eBay was a store, then four buyers every minute would have shopped at our counter, 24-7. Thus, for us it's always a process of mining data."

More specifically, a health and beauty product is sold once every four minutes, a figure standing at five minutes for mobile handsets, seven minutes for apparel and 27 minutes for laptops.

India's largest metropolitan centres contribute 51% of transactions, with Delhi and Mumbai the leading outlets. Second and third tier cities are also gaining in prominence, and currently deliver 40% of sales.

While rural regions register just 9% here, shoppers in the countryside are witnessing rapid growth in activity, with 1,267 areas now hosting buyers and vendors, and providing 20% of goods on sale.

Female customers are also "increasingly active" in undertaking purchases, making 45% of their acquisitions in the lifestyle sector. Moreover, women make up 35% of eBay's 1m fans on Facebook.

Some 61% of exports made by eBay users in India are from the lifestyle segment. Turning to domestic transactions, technology products dominate, taking a 51% share.

Evidence of this trend was shown in the list of the best-selling brands, a category led by Sony. Nokia, the handset maker, was second, ahead of Samsung and Apple, both in the electronics field.

Reebok, the sportswear specialist, took fourth, beating Seagate, which makes storage devices, in fifth. Casio, Micromax, LG and Canon, active either in the electronics and telecoms industries, completed the top ten.

Looking forward, eBay predicted mobile phones - and particularly smartphones - offering higher-speed web connections are likely to play a key role in the future development of Indian ecommerce.

"The smartphone is the new online store for consumers to browse, compare and buy leading to shopping on the go, anytime, anywhere," said Muralikrishnan.

Data sourced from eBay/Best Media Info; additional content by Warc staff