Representative image (source: iStock)
With the proliferation of smartphones, accessible internet connectivity and innovative digital platforms, e-commerce in India has witnessed an unprecedented surge. These factors not only fuel online shopping adoption but also redefine consumer interactions with brands, purchase decisions, and post-purchase experiences.
Havas Media’s report, ‘Shaping consumer experiences: How India buys and how tech is shaping e-commerce adoption and experience’ is an expedition into the heart of India’s e-commerce realm.
Within consumer behaviour, gender-based segmentation shows that women are traditionally discerning by nature. Eighty-five per cent state they check reviews before shopping, and 81 per cent state they check out offers and deals before shopping.
Geography-wise, 80 per cent in the West and 78 per cent in North India enjoy having a wide range of products, while South and tier-3 cities (76 per cent) are budget-conscious.
The hustlers, i.e. both Gen Z (76 per cent) and Millennials (78 per cent), believe that comfort and convenience are more important than the price.
In terms of categories, grocery, personal care, fashion and F&B are shopped most often. Online shopping for medicines/pharmacies has seen a 33 per cent increase in the last year, while appliances are least shopped online.
Shopping preference across categories
A higher number of people from tier 2 and 3 cities agree that when shopping online, they end up spending more than what they would spend if they were shopping offline.
Digital has a strong play throughout the purchase journey. Google search, YouTube ads and Online shopping portals like Amazon/Flipkart are seen as the key touchpoints that help in the entire shopping journey.
Online shopper journey
It is interesting that TV advertising still commands trust. Seeing brands on a bigger platform in a relatively clutter-free environment builds consumer trust. However, consumers seek more validation when it comes to categories like health, wellness and beauty. YouTube videos and expert reviews emerge as more trusted touch points for these categories. User reviews have the highest impact on purchase decisions across generations.
Most trusted touchpoints
Comfort and ease have become the cornerstone of online shopping allure. For time-strived city dwellers, online shopping offers ease of shopping anytime, saves travel time and offers doorstep delivery. For smaller-town shoppers, it offers accessibility, a wider choice and good deals.
Situations in which users have speculated about online shopping arise from quality uncertainty, which is the biggest concern across audience segments and regions. Data Privacy Issues also emerge on top across regions, except North, which exhibits more concerns around returns and lack of control over sellers.
Shoppers prefer shopping from top e-commerce websites like Amazon/Flipkart as it offers them ease of shopping like easier return, better service and quality products. However, consumers continue to prefer top e-commerce sites for standard and high-value products.
Driving factors for shopping online
Brand-owned websites are considered for fashion, beauty, F&B and personal care. Consumer demand for a better experience and product quality has paved the way for “luxury” online shopping like TATA Cliq Luxury.
Forty-four per cent of shoppers discover new brands through social media. Social media is highly influential in a category where visuals have a strong play, like fashion, smartphones, grocery and make-up. Instagram has gained appeal amongst younger consumers, while Facebook continues to be influential among older generations.
The Indian market has been flooded with D2C brands in the past few years. Consumers prefer shopping lower value, discretionary products like makeup, personal care, F&B, grocery and fashion from D2C brands.
The convergence of emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), intelligent chatbots like ChatGPT, voice assistants, and web 3.0 is revolutionising the world of consumer shopping.
Brands need to adopt AR/VR and conversational AI technology that are accessible 24×7 to win consumer confidence and trust. Being technology savvy is not a choice anymore but a necessity.
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