MUMBAI: Nearly 50% of clothes shoppers in India choose to go online to secure better deals and variety, suggesting that digital channels have become an essential part of the shopping experience in the country, a new retail report has shown.

In addition, around 40% of consumers in India are influenced by Bollywood and celebrities for their purchase decisions, the Economic Times reported, while a quarter continue to buy unbranded traditional clothes, which is 70% more than in China.

The findings are part of PwC Experience Radar 2013: Lessons from the Global Retail Apparel Industry from international auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, which questioned 3,700 affluent shoppers from seven countries, including four in Asia – China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

PwC found two-thirds of shoppers agree that access to leading branded goods lies at the "heart and soul" of their ideal apparel clothing experience and that newly affluent consumers in India place so much value on it that they are four times more willing to pay for access to branded apparel than shoppers in developed nations.

This prompted Rachna Nath, retail and consumer leader at PwC India, to advise brands that "this implies luxury brands need to align price with brand equity as premium pricing reflects exclusivity and quality, which attracts affluent developing shoppers looking to showcase their status".

Commenting on the ever-increasing influence of online channels, she said: "Digital has impacted the way business happens as no other factor has. As the buyer becomes more informed and we see the touch points to interact with customers changing, the way to provide them customised experience has also undergone a change."

As reported in the Business Standard, the study also advised brands to ensure their employees are better-placed to know how to handle customer relationships, as shoppers are more likely to share a bad experience with friends.

They also should give customers a platform on which to share and amplify good experiences and raise issues that may need to be resolved.

Finally, even though over 50% of Indian shoppers buy online to get better deals and choice, online payment security remains an issue for almost 20% of shoppers, the report warned.

Data sourced from Economic Times, Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff