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Online retail market in India to rise 3X in next 4-5 years: MMA & GroupM study

Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra emerge as top three online shopping destinations

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Mumbai: The online retail market in India is set to rise three folds in the next four to five years, majorly driven by under-penetrated categories like grocery, education, and health, as per a new study conducted by MMA India and GroupM.

Online video spends have seen the highest growth rate of 46 per cent in 2020, as compared to other media channels. Online content consumption grew 35 per cent post Covid, with a total growth of 13 per cent in time spent on OTT from January 2020 to January 2021.

The industry playbook titled ‘Modern Marketers Guide to Connected Consumer Journeys’ launched by MMA India on Tuesday, along with the AMMP Council and GroupM India is a compilation of learnings and insights by multiple industry experts and an analysis of the e-commerce landscape in India. In the context of the accelerated adoption of online channels, the playbook provides marketers with insights into the changing e-commerce landscape and the factors driving this shift. It also delves into the evolving customer buying journey and purchase patterns, sales-driving technologies such as Voice, AR/VR driving sales and effective channel strategy for improved business ROI.

According to the playbook, ‘Voice’ is at a nascent stage Indians are leapfrogging on Voice adoption and the market is expected to grow by 40 per cent by 2022. Not just on Google Assistant, voice is rapidly growing as a preferred medium of input across Search and YouTube, driven by vernacular internet users’ preference of voice, who find it to be a more natural way of interacting with technology, helping reduces friction, found the study. Hindi on voice assistants is second biggest globally; 72 per cent Indians prefer non-English language.

Urban internet users are relying on online platforms for product research. At least 62 per cent of urban users are researching products online before making any purchase either online or offline, as per the guide. As many as 50 per cent of offline shopping across categories involves online product research.

The biggest retail trend is the increasing popularity of the direct-to-consumer or DTC model, according to the handbook. D2C brands are witnessing a high number of subsequent funding rounds and strategic sales to incumbents. Brands with a DTC model can leverage direct relationships through loyalty programs, special discounting and promotions, and unique and category-specific shopping experiences, says the study.

The study also highlights that online retail is shifting from electronics to grocery and 73 per cent of customers have purchased through online shopping platforms in the past 12 months. The deciding factors, as per the guide are – product quality ( 63 per cent), price (55 per cent ) and product information (55 per cent), return and cancellation policy, and product warranty.

There has been an interesting purchase pattern in the consumer journey in the last three months where Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra were the top three online shopping destinations, notes the study. Groceries, fashion and health, beauty, and personal care were the most searched product categories.

India today has 622 million internet users (8 per cent growth over 2019) and is expected to touch 900 million users by 2025. With affordable data prices, consumers are increasingly becoming more “digital Conversational Commerce, Voice Search, Video Streaming and Augmented Reality will also help brands drive their e-commerce strategies, says the guide.

MMA India board member; country head – India, MMA Moneka Khurana said, the playbook outlines how organisations and digital business leaders can improve their understanding of the shift in consumer behavior and solutions that will drive the next phase of growth. “Consistent digital exposure, combined with the presence of available omnichannel touchpoints has resulted in the development of a new consumer purchasing process. MMA through its e-Commerce Council aims to build an overall understanding of the ecosystem and address cluster-specific issues improving capability in omnichannel marketing. We hope this playbook will assist marketers and brands to effectively re-strategise their market approach – from the customers they target to the channels they sell-through,” said Khurana.

GroupM South Asia president – growth and transformation, Tushar Vyas said the growth in internet users, reduction in data prices, and changing consumer behavior are the key growth drivers for the evolution of eCommerce in India. “We understand the changing online retail market and how it is set to grow 3x in the next 4-5 years mainly driven by underpenetrated categories like grocery, education, health. Considering the emergence and growth of eCommerce platforms, this handbook provides A-Z solutions on how marketers can use eCommerce as a platform to enhance a brand’s reach in these rapidly evolving times,” said Vyas.

According to Tata Industries Ltd. executive director, KRS Jamwal, going forward, platforms and brands will need to differentiate by providing customers with a better, preferably personalised, yet holistic buying experience that enhances the browse and purchase journeys, and even attempt to bring aspects of the in-store experience online, leveraging tech. “The MMA report provides an overarching view on consumer behavior shifts as well as identifies challenges those organisations may face as a result of those shifts, with best practices and possible solutions”, he added.

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