Online shopping gains popularity
From selling bar coasters to buying gadgets and lifestyle products, the young and old across the Northeast are fast becoming voracious online shoppers.
eBay India, the country’s most popular online shopping platform with over 4 million registered users from 3,311 Indian cities and over two million Facebook fans, has come up with some interesting facts about the Northeast.
“Northeastern states, in particular, have grown tremendously in the past 12 to 18 months. Gadgets and lifestyle products have been the most popular categories followed by media and collectibles,” Deepa Thomas, head, partnerships, eBay India told The Telegraph.
In the online shopping portal’s latest report — India Battle of the Gadgets — Guwahati and Aizawl have interestingly surfaced among the top 20 cities, with high demand for tablets, compact digital cameras and long zoom digital cameras. The report is based on an analysis of all gadget transactions on eBay India from April 1 to June 30, 2012.
Every minute, eight products are bought on eBay India.
Increased penetration of the Internet driven by higher disposable incomes, availability of cheaper access devices and the advent of 3G have led to rapid adoption of e-commerce in all corners of the country.
“In addition, people in non-metro cities are able to gain access to products not available in their cities,” Thomas said.
The eBay India Census, 2011, found Assam taking the lead in the Northeast with 49 per cent of their purchases being in the gadgets category followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland and Sikkim.
Suraj Sharma, CEO of rock.in, an online store dedicated towards bringing the world’s finest fashion labels to India, said, “We have discovered that the Northeast is one of the most fashion-conscious regions of the country. Seven per cent of the traffic on the online store comes from the Northeast, with most of the orders coming from Assam and Meghalaya.”
“We have also observed that the average basket size in the Northeast is more than that in the metropolitan cities. This means that the Northeast people shop for more products at once than those who shop from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore,” Sharma said.
Though the portal offers both women’s wear and menswear, the ratio of female shoppers to maleshoppers in the Northeast is 7:3. “However, most of the shoppers (both male and female) purchase mainly from the various international brands we have to offer, such as La Redoute, House of Dereon, Fever London, et al,” Sharma said.
He said one of the most interesting trends among Northeast shoppers is that 70 per cent of them opt for prepaid orders. “Most of the orders are paid in advance via debit/credit cards and Netbanking. While cash on delivery is a trend elsewhere, only 30 per cent of the Northeast shoppers opt for the same.”
For Flipkart, Northeast has always been a good market. “The demand for categories like books, media and games is very high,” a senior official of the online shopping portal said.
Even direct-selling companies are taking the online route to augment their sales.
For Amway India, which accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the Rs 5,229 crore direct-selling market in India, online sales have assumed significance among the company’s distributors over the past three years and contribute nearly 20 per cent of overall sales of the company in India.
“While we are expanding our reach through brick and mortar presence, we are also encouraging distributors to use our website to buy products online,” Amway India managing director and CEO William S. Pinckney said.
Domestic firm Modicare’s focus on online sales began from 2011. “While the platform has been there for a decade now the real focus on online sales started last year,” Manisha Amol, vice-president (marketing), Modicare Ltd, told The Telegraph.
The Northeast market is crucial for Modicare, which is eyeing five per cent revenue from online sales by the end of this fiscal.
Chavi Hemanth, secretary general of the Indian Direct Sellers Association (IDSA), said, “The trend of companies leveraging the online platform to augment sales has grown recently. Companies such as Amway, Oriflame and Avon have taken the online route.