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Online shopper base in India to reach 100 million by 2016

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MUMBAI: Convenience and variety is what today’s shoppers look for. And the platform giving them these both is e-commerce.

As per Google in its annual online shopping growth trends report, consumer confidence to shop online will only continue to rise and India will have 100 million online shoppers by 2016.

The report compiled by combining an extensive research conducted by Forrester Consulting and Google search trends revealed that India’s e-tailing market is at an inflection point and will see rapid growth to become a $15 billion market by 2016.

The research conducted by Forrester Consulting by interviewing 6859 respondents covering both online buyers and non-buyers in 50 cities/towns, found out that online shoppers base will grow three times by 2016, and over 50 million new buyers will come from tier I and II cities.  The confidence to shop online was on the rise as 71 per cent non-buyers from tier I and II cities said they plan to shop online in next 12 months. The findings also revealed that women buyers in tier I cities were more engaged in online shopping, and outspend men by double. Women were also responsible for driving growth in categories like apparels, beauty & skincare, home furnishing, baby products and jewellery.

Over 60 per cent respondents also felt that buying online was directly correlated with social status. Mobile phones emerged as an important access device for online shoppers with one out of three online buyers transacting on their mobile phones in tier I and II cities. In tier III cities, one in two buyers said they use mobile phones to purchase products online. This was also reflected in Google search trends with mobile phones queries growing three times in last three years. Today, over 50 per cent of shopping queries were coming from mobile phones; this share was as low as 24 per cent just two years back.

Google India local and classified ecommerce industry director Nitin Bawankule said, “The consumer confidence to shop online has grown significantly in  last year and a half, and our objective was to understand the factors that are driving this growth and arrive at indicators that will help propel the Industry forward. As the report indicates, behavior of Indian online buyer is fast mirroring buyers in more developed markets as more subjective product categories have started to see significant growth. The e-tailing Industry needs to act now to cater to this strong user growth trend. 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 II cities. Women buyers are set to become the most significant contributor to the growth of online shopping and there is a huge opportunity waiting to be unlocked in this user segment.”

Amongst the challenges, 62 per cent buyers said they were not satisfied with their online shopping experience. 67 per cent buyers also highlighted that the current return process was too complicated and expensive. Trust was a major issue with non buyers, 55 per cent non buyers did not trust the quality of products sold online, 63 per cent said they were concerned about the safety of transacting online and 65 per cent said, they don’t feel comfortable sharing personally identifiable information online. 66 per cent of total respondents said that poor connectivity was also a major barrier for them to shop online.

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