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Shoppers' mantra: Have mobile/tablet, will tap and shop

Thursday, 16 January 2014 - 9:18am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Online retailers see a surge in shoppers logging in via mobile phones and tablets; cash-on-delivery option a big draw for consumers.

Tap, tap, tap, shop till you drop – that’s in.

Shopping via mobile phones – m-commerce – is quietly acquiring dimensions of a revolution in India. On an average, a product is bought every 39 seconds on eBay India via a hand-held device (mobile phone, smartphone, phablet or tablet). So much so that online shopping with just a few mouse clicks on a PC / laptop appears passe.

E-commerce companies testify that there’s a surge in shoppers logging in via their hand-held devices. Up to 20-30% of total orders received by online retailers are placed via mobile phones. The average price of products being sold via wireless devices is same as, or even higher than, those sold via PCs and laptops.

Retailers see m-commerce as a natural progression considering that the Internet usage via mobile phones has been steadily going up. As per an Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International report, the number of mobile Internet users is going to reach 18.5 crore by June 2014, up from 13 crore in December 2013. Evidently, growing subscriber base is boosting m-commerce.

Malini Sharma, trend watcher, eBay India, says that m-commerce is definitely the future of e-commerce. “This is because the next 10 crore people will have their first Internet experience on their mobile phones and so shopping via mobile phones will be a natural progression.”

eBay India has seen 23% of their site traffic coming via mobile phones, a figure that has been growing steadily. Similarly, several online retailers say customers gained via the mobile phone route are generally more loyal or sticky,  and have a higher ticket size per order. “This results in better margins for us. For instance, m-commerce users have 1.8 to 2 times better repeat orders than shoppers who log in via computers. Even the average ticket size is 1.2 to 2 times higher that e-commerce players,” said Rohit Chadda, founder, Foodpanda which currently gets about 20% of its business via online sales.

Not surprisingly then, several websites such as MakeMyTrip, HomeShop18 and Domino’s have been launching dedicated mobile apps to boost sales. Several retailers offer additional discounts and better offers to incentivise ‘m-consumers’.

The option of being able to access internet on the go and improved network connectivity have prompted several consumers to try shopping through mobile phones, say retailers.

Not just metro denizens, even shoppers from non-metros are increasingly buying stuff using mobile phones, say e-commerce players. Ankit Khanna, vice-president, products, SnapDeal, says the buying pattern in m-commerce, in terms of products sold or their prices, is not any different from e-commerce.

Retailers say consumers who are not comfortable using their bank account or card details on their mobile devices, can always choose the cash-on-delivery option. This alternative also encourages consumers to shop using their hand-held devices.


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