Half of shopping via mobile happens in non-metros

Last Updated: Sat, Apr 20, 2013 06:16 hrs

Shopping through mobile phones has emerged as a favourite option for residents of smaller cities, according to a survey.

The study, by online marketplace eBay, shows that 49 per cent of mobile commerce users, or half of its universe from a sample user base of 1,345 people, are from non-metro cities.

This is the first summer mobile commerce survey conducted by eBay in India. The company considers 10 top cities as metros, and the remaining as non-metros.

According to a company executive, Surat, Vadodara, Vijayawada, Jaipur, Mysore, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhubaneswar and Kochi have a larger share of non-metro shoppers using mobile phones to make purchases. Of the 4,306 cities and towns where eBay transactions take place, 4,296 are non-metros.

In e-commerce, non-metros had a share of between 20 and 40 per cent till recently. It is 50-50 for metros and non-metros among eBay buyers, a company representative told Business Standard. Also, there’s been a growth of 70 per cent in online buyers over seven years, a trend established by the eBay census.

The platform covered 240 cities for online transactions in 2005, and it’s risen to 4,306 now. “The number of hubs increase only when there are buyers and sellers there,” the official said.

Muralikrishnan B, Country Manager, eBay India, said, “Mobile commerce adoption has increased significantly in the country due to multiple factors such as enhanced 3G penetration and availability of affordable smartphones. As pioneers of mobile commerce in India, it is heartening to see such a huge shift in the way Indians shop.”

The boom in mobile telephony in the country has contributed significantly to the popularity of m-commerce. India has 861 million mobile phone subscribers, out of total phone base of 892 million, including fixed-line connections, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data as of end of February 2013. There are 91 million wireless subscribers in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

Making a distinction between how Indians shop online and how they buy using mobile phones, the survey shows that evening and night are the most likely time for handset transactions. Afternoon (1 to 4 pm) is the best e-commerce band, when people shop during lunchtime. While online buying happens mostly during office hours, 71 per cent of mobile commerce is done at home. In online and m-commerce transactions, mobile phone purchases top the list among gadgets, closely followed by tablets. Otherwise, sunglasses, accessories and clothing are the favourite choice.

In m-commerce, more than 25 per cent of the transactions are for purchases of products worth over Rs 10,000.

The proportion of e-commerce is less than 1 per cent of the total Indian retail market, which is estimated at around $600 billion (Rs 30 lakh crore).

In an interview to this newspaper after the controversy over the government allowing 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, Arvind Singhal, founder and chairman of Technopak Advisors, had said, “The only major disruption in this (domestic retail) growth would be e-commerce and not FDI in retail. It is a platform that could be owned by anybody, with no need for any physical infrastructure.”

  • 59% Would shop on their mobile phone to avoid the summer heat and crowded markets
  • 49% Shoppers purchasing sunglasses
  • 67% Shoppers buying mobile phones
  • 83% Shopping for themselves
  • 30% For parents
  • 29% For spouse
  • 19% for children
  • 71% Prefer to shop from home
  • 57% use 3G service
  • 32% use 2G service
  • 11% use EDGE service for m-commerce

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