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85% of Indian e-shoppers intend to make online purchases over the next 6 months: Survey

More than eight out of ten Indian online consumers plan to shop online in the next twelve months and more than a quarter indicate they spend upwards of 11 per cent of their monthly shopping expenditure on online purchases, according to a recent Nielsen Global Online Shopping Report. The report also reveals that 23 per cent Indians surveyed had never shopped online.

More than eight out of ten Indian online consumers plan to shop online in the next twelve months and more than a quarter indicate they spend upwards of 11 per cent of their monthly shopping expenditure on online purchases, according to a recent Nielsen Global Online Shopping Report. The report also reveals that 23 per cent Indians surveyed had never shopped online.

“Low internet penetration and lack of confidence in using credit card credentials, are the biggest challenges for online shopping in India, though high adoption for online travel sites is changing this. The medium to heavy users have always been quite comfortable buying stuff online,” Karthik Nagarajan, director, online division, The Nielsen Company, has said.

In the next six months Indians are most likely to buy books (41%), airline tickets (40%) and electronic equipment like TV, camera (36%) online. Other products and services that Indians incline to buy in the next six months include tours/hotel reservations (29%), event tickets (26%), clothing/accessories/shoes (25%), computer hardware (24%), videos/DVDs/games (not downloaded) (22%), and music (not downloaded) and computer software (not downloaded) (both 21%).

When shopping online, one third of Indians (33%) purchase most frequently from websites which allow them to select products from many different stores. Nearly three in ten (28%) prefer online-only retail sites. Nine per cent Indians purchase from websites that also have traditional ‘brick and mortar’ stores and eight per cent buy from sites that also sell their products through catalogues and also over the phone.

The Nielsen report states that 71 per cent Indians trust recommendations from family when making an online purchase decision, followed by recommendations from friends at 64 per cent and online product reviews at 29 per cent.

“Indians still like a first-hand experience for high involvement products and services that they buy. The traditional one to one experience with the sales person, who clarifies all their doubts, is preferred by many. Since the online medium doesn’t allow them this interaction, the closest is recommendation from their family and friends, though this is being largely replaced by expert reviews online,” Karthik Nagarajan has explained.

According to the report, online reviews and opinions are most important for Indians when buying consumer electronics (57%), software (50%), and a car (47%). Many Indian consumers went so far as to say they would not buy products or services without considering online reviews, and again this was particularly important in the purchase of consumer electronics (41%), car (38%), and software (35%).

Half the Indian consumers (50%) said they use social media sites to help them make online purchase decisions. With online reviews and opinions weighing so heavily in consumer’s decision making processes, it is interesting to note that more than four in ten Indians are more likely to share (tweet) a negative product or service experience online than they were to share a positive experience.

“There is a bit of a silent social media revolution going on in India at the moment and it is largely mistaken for just social networking. The truth is that discussion boards, forums and review sites are seeing high growth in terms of conversations and this is where many shopping decisions are being made,” Karthik Nagarajan has added.

According to The Nielsen Company, the findings are based on a survey conducted in March 2010 and polled over 27,000 internet users in 55 markets from Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, North America and South America to look at how consumers shop online: what they intend to buy, how they use various sites, the impact of social media and other factors that come into play when they are trying to decide how to spend their money.

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