Despite stressed household incomes, consumer sentiment around retail spending remains positive, with six in 10 Indian consumers looking to shell out more money this year on retail purchases, according to a report by MiQ titled ‘The Future of Retail – IN Report.’ Continued experimental habits and pre-purchase research will guide retail purchases through the year, the report added. Nine in 10 Indian consumers under the age of 45 years are likely to experiment with new online shopping platforms this year. Meanwhile, four in five consumers are still open to exploring alternate brands compared to what they usually go for putting added stress on brand loyalty across key retail verticals.
The report also revealed that the convenience of shopping from the comfort of their homes has made e-commerce an integral part of the lives of Indian consumers, with about seven in 10 looking to do a larger proportion of their shopping online this year. From buying groceries and medicines to making big ticket purchases, e-commerce is expected to continue its strong growth story this year among all segments of consumers.
However, even with online shopping booming, offline shopping experiences will dominate big-ticket purchases. Urgent need and unavailability of stocks are the primary reason driving people in-store. High value purchases and luxury retail will continue to find audiences offline, while a lot more of the everyday purchases are being taken online, the report highlighted. Offline shopping habits continue to be a dominant trait among the more mature consumers and among audiences beyond tier 1 and tier 2 cities where inventory challenges might be very real.
Interestingly, 45% Indian consumers always research products online (irrespective of value) before making purchase decisions. While 14% offline shoppers in India compare/ contrast products online even when shopping in store (highest globally). Consumers in the 35 -54 age group are significantly more attuned to shopping in a hybrid manner (exploring online and offline avenues before making purchase decisions).
According to the report, while pricing and discount remain a critical factor in research for low and medium-income households, online reviews and product specs are the primary drivers for the affluent Indians. While one in three consumers begin their journey on online marketplaces, close to three in ten shoppers review the brand website before pulling the trigger. Four in five Indians use mobile devices when conducting online product research, while two in three can also switch between online and offline research forums. Social is also a significant information source for one in three shopper under the age of 45 years.
Furthermore, the report also revealed that online ads are the primary source of information for Indian consumers around upcoming sales and offers while app/ web notifications from major online shopping aggregators are also key for audiences with products in their wish lists. Video ads fare the best in terms of drawing user attention. One in three Indian shoppers find video ads the most engaging format to get information about a particular product or an upcoming sale. Personalised notifications are in third place. Personalisation of messaging may increase the chance of drawing user attention by as much as three times, the report stated.