COL­UMN

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Contents -

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 rakeshgamb­hir@im­ages­group.in

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