Indian E-Commerce Trends Q3/2016
Finding the pulse of India’s E-Commerce Habits

View Report
Indian E-Commerce Trends OND/2016
Finding the Pulse of India’s E-Commerce Habits

The Indian E-Commerce industry has witnessed relentless, expansive growth over the past year. It is expected to evolve and grow in worth to $79.4B by 2020, according to eMarketer. This is to be supplemented by the fact that the Indian digital population is estimated to grow by a staggering 50 million annually by 2020.

Beyond the obviously popular categories responsible for this growth like apparel, electronics and cosmetics, we see significant traction on product lines that drove several skeptics earlier, including furniture, jewelry and even gourmet food. With the user experience being provided getting richer by the day, with given conveniences like price comparison, hassle-free returns and cash or card-on-delivery, online purchasing has become the primary mode of shopping for millions of Indian shoppers already.

Sokrati has the privilege of being performance partners to over 200 of India’s most renowned online retailers and marketplaces. This report is Sokrati’s attempt at publishing the third in its unique series of India’s first, detailed analysis of E-Commerce trends and opportunities, for online retailers. The data leveraged to ground this study is clarified below -

The insights were drawn from the following data sources:

100+
Indian Retailers
1.5+ Billion
User Events
1.3+ Million
Purchasers
1.9+ Million
Transactions

Notes

  • Data is for the months of October, November and December 2016 only.
  • The report neither prefers, nor is skewed by any E-Tailer in particular.
  • Data covers purely Online Retail. It doesn’t include Digital Goods or the Travel Segment.
  • This report covers web data only - across Desktop and Mobile Devices.
  • Data drawn here is compiled from behaviours of online buyers on the Indian subcontinent only.

Indian Men Shop Online 2.7x More Often Than Indian Women

Indian Men outweigh Women 1:2.7 when it comes to online purchases. Also, Indian Men convert 57% better with about 17% higher Average Order Value (AOV).

Sokrati’s Take: Contrary to popular belief that women spend more time shopping, the reality is that men don’t shy away from shopping online.
Intuitively, men do spend more time online than women - whether it’s at work or at home. Also, they tend to probably take the final call on high ticket items - especially in categories like Electronics and Furniture.
Sokrati Suggests: Retailers should have specific messaging strategy differently for men and women - whether it’s on the storefront or it's on your Digital Marketing Creatives - to further improvise on the conversion rates and buyer repeat ratios for better Lifetime Value.
Did you know? Click Throughs (CTR) are higher for Men when your Ad Creatives have darker background shade with Price oriented/Product Specs oriented messaging vs. lighter colored shades for Women with more style and design oriented messaging. Sokrati’s platform analyzes every ad element and optimizes for right combinations in an automated fashion.

Delhi-NCR Consumes 1/3rd of Online Purchases, Followed by a Distant Mumbai

Tier-I cities massively dominate the online purchase scene in India with 8 out of every 10 orders coming from them. Even the Average Order Values (AOVs) are a staggering 38% higher than other Tiers.

Tier-I cities include Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore according to the revised HRA classification by the Government Of India

Sokrati’s Take: While Tier II and Tier III promises an exciting future for Online Retailers, data clearly suggests that Tier I is where the most significant volumes and revenues currently come from.
Given higher disposable incomes, proportionately better access to large screen devices and high speed internet, and overall better delivery logistics, Shoppers from Tier I cities seem to be savvier to shop online, including for bigger ticket-sized items.
Sokrati Suggests: While some retailers are indulging in futuristic investments to woo Tier II & Tier III shoppers, e.g. regional languages interface and ad copies, it is fundamentally important to have a robust strategy on addressing demands peculiar to a Tier-I shopper. This may include better personalization, faster delivery options, smoother check out processes and a better user experience overall.
Did you know? Incorporating regional tastes in your image creative depending on your targeting could boost Click Through Rates (CTR) by up to 60% than otherwise.

Web Shoppers Prefer Larger Screens to Their Smaller Counterparts by 2:1

When it comes to ‘Web’ based purchases, Personal Computers (PCs) are still the preferred devices with more than 64% of the online purchases coming from them. They also have a 25% higher Average Order Value (AOV) compared to smartphones. Interestingly, while Android commands a higher share of Mobile Web purchases, iOS based Shoppers have 31% higher AOVs!

Sokrati’s Take: Realistically, larger screens (12”+) offer a much richer experience for online shoppers - enabling them to do product research (price comparisons, reviews, etc.) before identifying one to buy.
From above, this trend makes sense, since most of the purchases are happening in Tier I cities where access to larger screens is proportionately much higher.
Sokrati Suggests: As witnessed by Myntra relaunching its Desktop site, Online Retailers should continue investing on the Web experience, driving a seamless experience across a user’s digital footprints. Especially for higher ticket value categories like Electronics, Furniture, Luxury Goods, Branded Apparel, etc. - the significance of large screen experience is inevitable for the online shopper.
Did you know? Web Analytics is well-evolved compared to Mobile App Analytics. It provides amazing data to dig deep into, analyze, and use learnings from the numbers to help optimize the entire experience for the Shopper. Sokrati enables full-funnel tracking, multi-variable goal optimizations, audience cohort analytics, and lot more amongst its suite of the Insights it provides to online retailers.

E-Payments Replace Cash-On-Delivery (COD) as Most Preferred Way to Pay Online, with 52% of the pie

Payment methods like Net-Banking, Credit & Debit Cards and e-wallets combined now contribute over 52% of all online purchases, as compared to Cash On Delivery (CoD). However, the Average Order Value (AOV) on online payments and cards is almost identical to that on CoD.

Sokrati’s Take: Indian E-Commerce seems to be shifting towards cashless modes of transaction as a preference, especially since the demonetization decision in November 2016.
Limitations on money withdrawal from ATMs, convenience of mobile wallets, and attractive offers and benefits on using Netbanking/Cards during payments seems to be fueling this trend.
Sokrati Suggests: For most retailers, CoD is a necessary evil for expanding business to newer avenues. But a government-driven move towards a cashless economy has caused a significant dent for almost all of them. To ensure this move doesn’t impact the bottom-lines even further, many online retailers have started integrating with mobile wallet platforms, while also giving attractive offers on Netbanking and card payments. Some retailers have already pushed up the ‘minimum order value’ for CoD eligibility, or have started charging a ‘convenience fee’ for this mode of payment.
Did you know? Order Cancellations are as high as 30% across retailers. CRM integrated audience cohort analytics could provide some significant insights to predict and curb the Order Cancellation rates. In its next release, Sokrati plans to offer CRM-based marketing integrations that will provide seamless Order Tracking mapped back to the ad and messaging - allowing for more insightful and actionable analytics.

Impulsive Categories Like Clothing & Electronic Accessories make up 70% of Online Purchases

Indian shoppers love to spend on accessorising themselves or upgrading their electronic equipments, especially smartphones, with upto 70% of transactions occurring in these two categories. However, in terms of Average Order Values (AOV) and overall Revenues, Electronics still rule all other categories.

Sokrati’s Take: Impulsive buys has always been a phenomenon in the retail industry, across the world - both at an offline mall or on an online store. Lifestyle categories like Clothing, Jewelry, Watches, Electronic Accessories have always done well in attracting consumers through the door.
Sokrati Suggests: Retailers should invest in enhancing the user experience when it comes to ‘trying-out’ lifestyle items. This includes multiple product views, product videos, truer colours, size guides and comparisons, and essentially show each product in the environment in which they would be used. A ‘try-it-on-yourself’ option would also be rewarding. The final results expected would be lesser returns, improved customer stickiness, and a higher LifeTime Value (LTV).
Did you know? Ad creatives with multiple product angles tend to have 20-30% higher Click Throughs, and drive high intent customers than those with only a single product angle. Sokrati’s Image Ad Creative Platform programmatically generates images with a combination of multiple products or angles at scale.

50% of All Online Purchases Happen during Morning Hours

Indian shoppers prefer morning hours, i.e. till noon on almost all days of the week, to complete most of their online shopping. Within the week, it’s Tuesday & Saturday that show higher share of orders.

Night: 9pm to 4am, Morning: 5am-11Aam, Afternoon: 12pm-5pm, Evening; 6pm-8pm

Sokrati’s Take: This trend also corroborates the trends seen above where we witness over 65% of Online shopping transactions happening from larger screens.
Interestingly, the shopping spree is noted to be weaker during the start of the month, while it peaks from mid-month onwards - presumably the effect of monthly pay-cycles.
Sokrati Suggests: Retailers should invest in handling website traffic and ad delivery during these preferred buying periods. They should also incorporate dayparting in their online campaign management activities for optimum returns on their ad spends (RoAS).
Did you know? Timing of a promotion becomes critical to reaping its full benefit potentials. E.g. Cart Recovery emails sent within an hour of cart abandonment tends to have higher response rates than those sent within the next 24/48 hours. Sokrati’s platform incorporates product level seasonality across channels at scale, and constantly calibrates the trends automatically.

Shoppers Have Made an Average of 1.2 Purchases in OND '16 Quarter

An average Indian shopper has made 1.2 purchases in Oct-Nov-Dec 2016. Certain niche categories like Sports & Fitness have shown higher repeat purchases than others. Interestingly, Shoppers who shop from Larger Screens have shown higher repeatability than otherwise.

Sokrati’s Take: Repeat Buying is the Holy Grail for any Online Retailer. Subtle patterns like Repeat Purchases by Sub-Categories or by Seasonality, could go a long way for Retailers to transform their bottom-line.
Sokrati Suggests: Retailers should stock up on repeatedly purchased merchandise to reduce drop-offs from interested buyers. Many retailers have introduced a ‘Notify Me’ subscription model and even scheduled reminders that work beautifully across categories like Medication, Health Supplements, Contact Lenses, Food and Groceries.
Did you know? Customer Cohort Analysis paired with a user-experience tailored for a particular cohort drives at least 60% better response rates than generic Remarketing. Sokrati allows users to create customer segments based on their online behaviour, purchase or intent-to-purchase, and target them with specific ad-copies across display and email marketing.

Sokrati for E-Commerce

Founded by ex-Amazonians in 2009, Sokrati offers the most powerful multi-channel performance marketing platform for Online Retail. Sokrati builds predictive intelligence around product merchandise and relevant audience personas - to automate marketing across all digital channels including all products on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bing, Display and Remarketing.

Leveraging its proprietary technology platform, Sokrati works with more than 200 E-Commerce brands including eBay, Open Sky, ABOF, Marks & Spencer UK, Ajio, Snapdeal, Titan Company and Tolexo, delivering over 30% upside on digital marketing ROI. Sokrati manages an estimated 25% of India's E-Commerce ad spends, and is rapidly expanding across the globe.

Sokrati remains Google Premier Partners, and Facebook Marketing Partners for proprietary Ad Technology, for its SaaS-based all-in-one performance marketing platform for E-Commerce Marketers.

Looking for a Strategic Performance Marketing Partner? Give us a Shot!