62% of urban users are researching products online before making any purchase: Report

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September 07, 2021 1:47 PM

Hindi on voice assistants is the second biggest language globally after English

Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra were the top three online shopping destinationsAmazon, Flipkart and Myntra were the top three online shopping destinations

The accelerated adoption of online channels by consumers has brought about a shift in purchase behaviour. Today, 62% of urban users are researching products online before making any purchase either online or offline, the report titled ‘Modern Marketers Guide to Connected Consumer Journeys’ by MMA India along with the AMMP Council and GroupM India, revealed. Moreover, 50% of offline shopping across categories involves online product research, it added. The guide is a compilation of learnings and insights by multiple industry experts and an analysis of the e-commerce landscape in India.

India today has 622 million internet users (8% growth over 2019) and is expected to touch 900 million users by 2025. With affordable data prices, consumers are increasingly becoming more digital. The online retail market is set to become three folds in the next four to five years, majorly driven by under-penetrated categories such as grocery, education, and health, the report added.

According to the report, though voice is at a nascent stage, Indians are leapfrogging on voice adoption; the market is expected to grow by 40% by 2022. Not just on Google Assistant, voice is rapidly growing as a preferred medium of input across Search and YouTube. Furthermore, online video spends have seen the highest growth rate of 46% in 2020, as compared to other media channels. Online content consumption grew 35% post Covid, with a total growth of 13% in time spent on OTT from January 2020 to January 2021.

Interestingly, vernacular internet users find voice a more natural way of interacting with technology which helps reduces friction. Hindi on voice assistants is the second biggest language globally after English, while Hindi voice search queries have seen 400% growth y-o-y.

According to Moneka Khurana, MMA India board member; country head – India, MMA, consistent digital exposure, combined with the presence of available omnichannel touchpoints, has resulted in the development of a new consumer purchasing process. “MMA through its e-Commerce Council aims to build an overall understanding of the ecosystem and address cluster-specific issues improving capability in the omnichannel marketing. We hope this playbook will assist marketers and brands to effectively re-strategise their market approach – from the customers they target to the channels they sell through,” she added.

To be noted, Indians value quality the most when it comes to purchase decisions. The report added that 73% of customers have purchased through online shopping platforms in the past 12 months — the deciding factors are — 63% on product quality, 55% on price and 55% on product information, return and cancellation policy, and product warranty. When it comes to the choice of channels, the biggest retail trend is the increasing popularity of the direct-to-consumer or DTC model. Hence, brands with a DTC model can leverage direct relationships through loyalty programs, special discounting and promotions and unique and category-specific shopping experiences.

There has been an interesting purchase pattern in the consumer journey in the last three months where Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra were the top three online shopping destinations and groceries, fashion and health, beauty and personal care were the most searched product categories.

“Consumers now have multiple sources for discovery and information research and today, it consists of highly connected non-linear moments. The growth in internet users, reduction in data prices and changing consumer behavior are the key growth drivers for the evolution of eCommerce in India. We understand the changing online retail market and how it is set to grow 3x in the next four to five years mainly driven by underpenetrated categories like grocery, education, health. Considering the emergence and growth of eCommerce platforms, this handbook provides A-Z solutions on how marketers can use eCommerce as a platform to enhance a brand’s reach in these rapidly evolving times,” Tushar Vyas, president – growth and transformation, GroupM South Asia said.

For KRS Jamwal, executive director, Tata Industries Ltd., after rapid growth in India’s e-commerce market, while the focus on cost and delivery efficiency will remain, it will become hygiene. “Going forward, platforms and brands will need to differentiate by providing customers with a better, preferably personalised, yet holistic buying experience that enhances the browse and purchase journeys, and even attempt to bring aspects of the in-store experience online, leveraging tech,” Jamwal stated further.

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