85% of eCommerce shoppers from tier-II & below cities in India: WATInsights

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India has around 297 million online shoppers and this number is expected to grow at a rate of 25% to reach around 372 million by the end of 2022.

WATConsult (An Isobar Company), the globally awarded hybrid digital agency from dentsu India, has unveiled its 1st report of WATInsights – Digital Commerce Series. This five-part report by Recogn, the agency’s research division, provides consumer and business insights to its audience and explores the components of digital commerce in India. It will be released at an interval of 20 days, hereon.

Titled ‘Digital Commerce in India – Festive season shopping’, the research has been conducted online and maps the sentiments of consumers in tier I, II and III cities. Currently, India has around 297 million online shoppers. This number is expected to grow at a rate of 25% to reach around 372 million by the end of 2022. Despite the economic uncertainty due to the pandemic, the e-commerce sector has witnessed an uptick. During the pandemic, owing to the lockdowns and social distancing norms, hypermarkets have witnessed lower footfalls although online shopping skyrocketed during last year’s festive season. There has been an increase in the number of orders in the online groceries, e-pharmacy, fashion apparel and electronic item categories. With an increase in the pandemic-led work/study-from-home model, the usage of smartphones in India has increased significantly. The post-pandemic era has observed huge shifts in buying habits of customers with increased adoption of online shopping, and contactless payments.

Key insights from the report:

Online shopping during the festive season:

• More than 30% of unique shoppers visited Amazon.in during Diwali compared to the pre-Diwali period.
• During Diwali, the shopping festival on Amazon.in witnessed more than 85% of the shoppers come from Tier-II and below cities.
• There were more than 67% of first-time shoppers during Diwali 2020 compared to the pre-festive season baseline.
• More than 103% of shoppers made purchases across new categories during the festive season compared to the pre-festive season baseline.

Festive shoppers’ behaviour:

• 12% increase in the number of branded searches per generic search.
• First-time shoppers spend similar to regular shoppers.
• First-time shoppers spend more time researching.

Change in consumer shopping behaviour during the pandemic:

• More than 75% of new-to-Amazon customers acquired are from Tier-III or below towns.
• 17% increase in time spent on Amazon.in – from 5.4 minutes to 6.8 minutes.
• The daily average keyword search increased by 143%.
• 40% increase in sub-categories purchase. The number of orders placed per week per customer grew by 17%.

Digital media has now become the primary mode of product discovery. Therefore, businesses need to respond with interesting value propositions and superior customer experience to complement this behavioural shift. A full-funnel strategy can help drive a significant lift in metrics across the entire funnel – consideration, customer acquisition, and sales. During the previous festive season, there was a considerable lift of more than 35%. There was a more than 45% lift in the number of new customers along with more than 60% sales uplift for full-funnel advertisers when compared to search-only advertisers.

Commenting on the latest issue of WATInsights- Digital Commerce in India- Festive season shopping, Heeru Dingra, CEO, Isobar India group said “The festive season has always been important to Indian shoppers and it has become more so in the post-pandemic period. The pandemic has given Indian e-commerce a major push beyond the metro consumers. The growing economy, expansion in the availability of products and services, and easy availability of credit has given rise to the new consumer segment – which also includes consumers from Tier-II and Tier-III. It’s interesting to note that these new consumers that make their first online purchase during the Diwali period majorly continue to shop online thereafter. I believe, this latest issue of WATInsights will be an invaluable resource for anyone who intends to demystify e-commerce in India.”

Sahil Shah, Managing Partner, WATConsult added “The world is moving towards a connected commerce future and India is rightly placed to lead the next phase of growth. With the festive season setting in, it’s always a bonanza as consumers increase their usage and brands increase their investments in digital as a medium. This report by WATInsights is a fantastic one as it gives you a slice into not only India on eCommerce but also Bharat on eCommerce. And what better than seeing a portion of it through one of the largest eCommerce marketplaces in India i.e. Amazon. I am certain you will have a very insightful read and definitely gather more focus areas in your business through this report.”