Seasons greetings: Many virtual returns of the e-gift

Written by Yogima Seth | New Delhi, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2008, 06:46am hrs
Love is blooming on the Internet, literally. The growing trend of sending gifts online, especially during the festive season, has led to a surge in online shopping in India. While Rakshabandhan, Diwali and Valentine are the major occasions when online shopping is on a high, this Valentine saw a surge of 75% in number of gifts being delivered on that day.

This robust growth is part of the consumer e-commerce market, which means buying and selling of products and services on the Internet or on any other application that relies on the Internet, that is expected to grow at 30% to reach an estimated Rs 9,210 crore by the end of 2007-08 as against Rs 7,080 crore in 2006-07, says a survey by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB.

Huge distances and lack of time has led to a boom in sending gifts online and with working population in the country on the rise the phenomenon is expected to go up further, says K Vaitheeswaran, COO of Indiaplaza.in, a leading online shopping portal.

According to industry estimates, the number of online shoppers in the country has gone up from an estimated 15,000 in 2003 to 1.75 lakh in 2006, a growth of over 1000%. And the number is expected to go up further by over 800% to 17 lakh users by 2010, thanks to a surge in number of Internet visitors which is expected to touch 100 million or 10 crore by then.

Rising penetration of Internet from upper to the lower strata of society as well as lower cost of PCs has led to a surge in Internet usage and subsequently a growth in online shopping," says an industry expert, adding that the availability of wide range of products on the Internet as compared to physical stores has also added to the overall growth of the industry.

While, sending gifts online across all age groups constitutes 15-20% to the total online shopping, online purchases by senior citizens form a mere 10% to the total sales while a huge part of it, approximately 70%, is constituted by working professional in the age group of 27-45 years and referred to as money rich and time poor citizens.