By Priya Kapoor
July 20, 2009
Convenience and low prices are spurring an increasing number of Indians to purchase goods and services through the Internet. The innovations in securing online transactions are also fuelling the trend .
Sandhya Kaushik, a 32- year- old healthcare professional, bought a kitchen appliance online and saved nearly Rs 800.
It wasn’t a one- off purchase, or the first time she had done so.
Kaushik has been a regular on the online circuit for the past two years. Her purchases range from kitchen items and educational toys for her children to books and flowers. Her motivation — lower prices and sheer convenience.
“Even if the physical store offers a discount, you end up paying more in transport cost. Also, it works best if you have a hectic schedule,” she says.
Kaushik is no aberration. Parul Suri, a 27- year- old consultant, also swears by online shopping. “ In today’s fast- paced life, there is hardly any time to make physical purchases. An online platform not only saves time but gives you a lot of options,” she explains. Kaushik and Suri represent a growing breed of people who see value for money in buying online. The current ‘ online shoppers’ base in India stands at 34.5 million compared to 28 million last year. This includes a sizeable chunk of ‘ window’ shoppers too, who use the Net for research and cost comparison.
A Mastercard survey conducted in December 2008 reveals that the average number of online purchases in India grew to 2.9 transactions in three months, up from 2.6 during the same period in 2007.
It’s a trend replicated in mature markets — in the UK, online shopping outperformed the high street last year. A December 2008 UK- based survey by Lightspeed Research revealed that 35.5 per cent of the respondents preferred to shop online. Another survey by Mintel, a leading consumer research firm, shows that though America’s economic growth has been flattened by the recession, online retail continues to show more signs of life than consumer retail as a whole.