49% preferred e-commerce sites for shopping in the last 12 months

49% Indian consumers say online sites and apps became the preferred mode of shopping for them in the last 12 months, as per a Local Circles survey.

Safety from Covid-19 and convenience were cited as top reasons by consumers for using ecommerce. 69% of those who shop on ecommerce bought groceries/essential supplies online.

Consumers used large ecommerce platforms as well as small verticals or local ecommerce sites to purchase groceries and essentials.

As per the survey, feedback indicates shopping via ecommerce sites & apps has become a habit for 33% ecommerce shoppers and their usage continues despite markets, retail stores and malls being fully functional and open

The survey said consumers are using services like Big Basket, Amazon Fresh/Pantry, Jio Mart, Flipkart, Grofers and a host of local ecommerce sites for essentials and groceries since March 20

Consumers reported improvement in returns and refunds processing and ability to reach out to customer service of ecommerce sites and apps in the last 12 months

The highest number of consumers say free shipping for all orders and more effective and efficient returns and refunds process will make them use e-commerce sites and apps more for their purchases going forward.

LocalCircles conducted an extensive study which received over 130,000 responses from over 42,000 unique consumers located in 358 districts of India. 48% of the study participants were from Tier 1 districts while 31% were from Tier 2 districts and 21% were from Tier 3, Tier 4 and rural districts.

49% of consumers in the survey said they preferred “eCommerce sites and apps” for shopping in the last 12 months. 18% said they “called local retail stores and get home delivery”, 31% “visited mall, local retailers, markets and shop there”, while 2% couldn’t say. The findings indicate that 49% of consumers and their family preferred eCommerce for shopping, while 18% called local stores and got home deliveries.

Among the reasons why consumers trusted eCommerce sites and apps in the last 12 months, more than before, 86% of the ecommerce shoppers said “safe deliveries or no reason to step out”, 50% said “competitive prices”, 48% said “ease of return or return policy”, 46% said “expanded product selection”, 45% said “faster deliveries”, and another 45% said “increased product information and relatable reviews”. The findings indicate that “safe or contactless deliveries and not wanting to step out”” was the top reason why consumers trusted eCommerce sites and apps in the last 12 months.

While consumers trusted ecommerce platform for reasons of safety, when asked about why they continued the use of the ecommerce sites and apps to regularly make their purchases in the last 12 months, 63% said “personal safety or social distancing norms due to Covid-19”, 61% said “convenience”, 45% said “ease of return and refund”, 44% said “better value or price”, 41% said “fast delivery”, and another 41% said “product range”. The findings indicated that “personal safety” and “convenience”, followed by “ease of return or refund” and “better value” were top reasons why consumers made their purchases on eCommerce sites and apps in the last 12 months.

2020 has been the transformative year in the history of Indian eCommerce because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Something that would have taken 3-5 years in terms of consumer acquisition and penetration happened in just one year as many preferred to order what they needed via ecommerce sites & apps. 49% consumers saying that it was the preferred mode of purchasing for them in the last 12 months is significant. As per the survey for 33% of these consumers, ecommerce became a way of life or habit which is likely to continue into 2021.