From ‘checking discounts to YouTube reviews’, here’s how Indians shop online

  • India's online shoppers largely rely on YouTube while buying a product because of the platfrom's content that comprises unboxing videos, usage experience, etc.

Mansi Jaswal
First Published29 Feb 2024
Over 12 crore Indians have adopted online shopping in the country in recent years, PwC report
Over 12 crore Indians have adopted online shopping in the country in recent years, PwC report

Indian shoppers have embraced online marketplaces with open arms. According to PwC India's latest report, 12.5 crore (approx) have adopted online shopping in the country in recent years, with a significant portion hailing from tier 2, 3, and 4 cities. More than 60% of surveyed respondents said they prefer online shopping via “mobile applications” due to ease of navigation, user-friendly interfaces, and vernacular support.

The report underlined that tier 2, 3, and 4 consumers are driving the retail revolution in the country. With "more brand choice, exchange of products, cash on delivery options, etc" e-shopping has not just become convenient but also a lifeline for non-urban dwellers largely.

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According to Somick Goswami, Partner, and Business Transformation Leader, PwC India, the next phase of growth in e-commerce will be driven by consumers from tier 2, 3, and 4 cities because “online shopping provides a gateway for more brand choices as compared to physical stores”.

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The PwC also pointed out that online shoppers largely rely on YouTube while buying a product because of the platfrom's content that comprises unboxing videos, usage experience, etc.

'How Indians shop online: Urban vs Rest of India'

Further, the PwC India report highlighted disparities in e-commerce shopping patterns between urban and rural India. While urban dwellers are enticed by perennial discounts and the convenience of online shopping, consumers from the rest of India regions are driven towards online shopping by factors such as limited product availability and stockouts in local offline stores.

According to the report, 50% of consumers in metros and tier-1 cities value quick delivery, while for 54% of consumers in tier-2, 3, and 4 cities, deals and offers take precedence.

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"By embracing agility and a deep understanding of consumer dynamics, businesses can chart a trajectory of sustained growth and profitability. When businesses get this right, they’re not just selling products; they’re creating experiences that people love and trust” - Prateek Sinha, Partner and Leader - Design and Experience Consulting, PwC India said.

'How Indians shop online: Payment preferences

Both urban and the rest of Indian consumers displayed acceptance of the UPI payment. However, cash on delivery remains the preferred option among non-urban consumers, especially Gen Z, to protect themselves from fraudulent activities.

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The PwC India report was based on an online survey of 2,100 people and 400 in-person interviews across India.

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