About 65% Delhi-ites prefer online shopping over regular shopping this year.
In these hyper-competitive times, brick and mortar retailers, including those in the food and grocery domain, continue searching for new ways to keep growing across the country. The one thing that they should take special note of is to understand and respond to the changing habits and behaviors of their customers. Retailers should take into account the consumers’ new-found preference for online shopping, mobile phone ordering, emerging tastes for consumables like electronic gadgets, consumer durables, apparel, home appliances and also their gifting choices on festive occasions such as Diwali. According to industry estimates, retail sales in the run up to Diwali this year will likely touch Rs. 30,000 crore compared with Rs. 22,000 crore last year.
A survey conducted in 10 cities – Delhincr, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Dehradun – has revealed that online shopping in India is fast catching on, not just in the larger metros but also in tier II and tier III cities. The respondents in the survey included 350 professionals – officers and executives across various industry sectors, including manufacturing, real estate, automobile, health care, retail, hospitality, among others.
The findings of the survey indicate that cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are the leaders in terms of retail sales. But there is also a huge surge of interest from tier II and tier III cities like Pune, Gurgaon, Noida, Chandigarh, Nagpur, Indore, Coimbatore, Jaipur and Vishakhapatnam. Retail sales in these cities have increased by 60-65 per cent year-on-year, points out the survey.
The findings highlight that 35 per cent of regular shoppers are in the 18-25 age group; 55 per cent in 26-35; 8 per cent in 36-45; and 2 per cent in the age group 45-60. About 65 per cent of online shoppers are males as against 35 per cent females. As per the report, men and women between the age group 25 and 34 years shop online the most during the festive season.
According to the survey findings, most products bought and sold through online range from mobile phones (78 per cent), electronic gadgets (72 per cent), consumer durables (69 per cent), gift articles (58 per cent), accessories (56 per cent), apparel (49 per cent) and home appliances (45 per cent).
Another interesting find from the survey says that during the festive season, on-ground shopping has taken a back seat. There are various reasons for this trend: an evolving and convenience seeking lifestyle, lack of time, being away from home for work, nuclear families, etc. That they have brought about a change in the festive shopping methods is for sure. About 65 per cent of Delhi-ites have expressed their preference for online shopping over regular shopping this year. With a plethora of attractive deals available online than those found in brick-and-mortar stores, along with the advantage of free shipping at the press of a “click” option, it is really a no brainer why shoppers in crowded metros prefer to buy online than waste time driving down to the stores through clogged traffic.
No wonder that e-commerce sales has grown five-fold as compared to the sales last year. More often than not, the prices of branded apparels, accessories, jewelry, gifts, etc, are more competitive on online shopping platforms. Also, there is the added advantage of doorstep delivery thrown into the package.
Brick-and-mortar retailers must start growing their own online platforms to cater to the customers of tomorrow. It is a sure way to consolidate and retain their customers.
The author has over 30 years of learnings and winning experience with Food Retail, New concept/ brands, FMCG and Organised Retail. Currently he heads Dubai Overseas Trade office in India and is on the Board of Skill Development – SME for Retail – besides also advising on international food retailing in India. He is reachable at email@example.com