Online Shopping: An Emerging Trend

Posted on March 19, 2012 in Specials

By Ashutosh Kumar:

I remember a time when once I had to buy a pair of shoes, and one of my friends suggested I should get them online, hearing which I thought to myself, ‘What nonsense is he spouting?’ Shoes online? Is it any antivirus, game or something like that which I could get online? And a lots of questions rose in my mind, ‘What will happen after paying the money?’, ‘When will it be delivered?’ and ‘What about the extra costs like transportation etc.?

After a few days I heard about how Flipkart broke India’s online shopping inertia, as their daily sales rose to a staggering Rs. 2.5 crores with 20 being sold products every minute. Obviously this is a boom for online shopping in India, seeing these many companies interested in investing in India in this sector. Amazon.com, a large company of online shopping, announced a new online shopping service for Indian consumers. It is an aggregation service that offers 1.2 crores of products along with product information, reviews, pricing and shipping time details. To top current developments, companies such as Amazon are also offering high discounts on their products.

However, I feel that Indian consumers are very cautious about online shopping, as compared to the western countries. The consumers of India are afraid of giving details of their credit cards; though the option of ‘cash on delivery’ helps the consumers of India a lot. Even those who don’t know how to pay online or do not carry credit cards are getting things by cash on delivery.

But online shopping is creating problems for the small-time retail stores and is emerging as a real threat to them. These stores don’t have as much discounting capacity as their online counterparts, as a result of which they may face some major competition problems in the coming years.

Online shopping will become usual for consumers of India gradually, as it has lots of added benefits like time saving, fuel saving, quality control; people have the added privilege of being able to compare prices easily and enjoy discounts. This is the reason the Indian Consumer’s behaviour is changing drastically, we are not only booking air and train tickets online, but are also booking laptops, mobile phones and similar products through the internet. Online shopping is rising fast not only in the metros but also becoming a trend in the small cities, as there are lots of categories such as cosmetics, jewellery, watches, electronic products and fitness equipment available on various sites.

In India, consumers prefer the touch-and-feel experience, but it is also true that this new mode of exchange and purchase of commodities is catching up. According to a survey, 40 million people transact online currently and the online retail market in India may grow to Rs. 70 billion by 2015 from Rs. 20 billion in 2011; these figures themselves outline the scope of this virtual industry.

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