Home >Industry >Virtual retail market expands, shopping on TV comes of age

New Delhi: From jaded showbiz personalities endorsing ‘divine gemstones’ and miraculous ‘weight reducing products’ at unearthly hours to 24 hour shopping channels, the virtual retail market on the idiot box has come of age.

Selling almost everything from latest gadgets to beauty products with on-air demonstrations and multiple ordering options, shopping channels on television look set to don the cap of potential virtual sellers, say market experts.

The launch of Network18 group’s Home Shop18 last year, added a new dimension to this genre of shopping. Boasting of India’s first 24 hour shopping channel, it is an online and on-air platform operating on the web, catalogue and print in tandem with TV.

Joining this new shopping bandwagon is another leading media and entertainment company, Star TV. The company has announced a 50:50 joint venture with CJ Home Shopping, a Korean based regional home shopping group to launch a 24 hour home shopping channel in India, along with an online version in the second half of 2009.

“India remains a fast growing retail market and the formation of this joint venture represents yet another step in our growth trajectory," says CEO of Star, Paul Aiello.

In the last few years, Internet shopping and E-Commerce has been doing well, offering both economy of time and money, with most shopping ventures on TV also carrying online portals for web transactions.

If statistics are anything to go by, the E-Commerce industry as a whole was valued at Rs9200 crore while the online retail market alone was estimated at Rs1100 crore in 2007-08 in a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

A survey conducted by I-Cube suggested almost 1.4 million active Internet users transacted through E-Commerce in 2008 in the major metros including online portals of TV shopping channels.

“The retail industry has not remained unaffected by the economic slowdown. There has been a considerable reduction in shopping expenses of the average Indian consumer. Homeshopping combines comfort and economy, which is attracting shoppers,“ says media analyst Ranjeet Barua.

Indiatimes shopping, an Internet based shopping platform recently launched ‘Lowest Price Shop’ on Zoom TV, which sells a similar genre of products, through a special tie up with Zoom Entertainment Network.

“The only problem with these home shopping channels is they are either not listed on TAM (Television Audience Measurement) or some of the smaller towns which they reach are not under the purview of TAM and hence an exact figure of viewership cannot be drawn, though unofficial figures do indicate a growing demand for TV shopping," an official of TAM said.

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