Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

The growing online shopping craze in Tier I and II cities

A consumer study conducted by CyberMedia Research reveals that attractive prices and irresistible offers lure people towards ecommerce platforms, and that they spend 124 hours annually shopping

Samidha Jain
Published: Jun 29, 2023 11:26:07 AM IST
Updated: Jun 29, 2023 12:57:59 PM IST

The growing online shopping craze in Tier I and II citiesAmazon is the most favoured online shopping platform for users. Image: Shutterstock

Shikha Singhai feels online shopping is a tool through which “everything is only one click and a few days away”. The 37-year-old homemaker, a resident of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, a Tier II city, got hooked on to online shopping when her 10-year-old daughter introduced it to her in 2019. Since then, Singhai has become a compulsive online shopper, scrolling through shopping apps at least once a week, and making purchases once or twice a month.

CyberMedia Research (CMR), a technology market research and advisory firm, conducted a consumer study in May, with a sample size of 3,000-odd consumers across eight Tier I and II cities. The survey titled ‘CMR Consumer Aspirations and eCommerce in Bharat’ revealed that Indians from Tier II cities and beyond spend two hours and 25 minutes per week on average shopping online—124 hours annually—while spending approximately 16 percent of their income in the last six months. Singhai's case is just one of the many about people’s fascination for online shopping in these centres that came to light during the survey.

According to the study, the wide range of choices, convenience and comfort provided by ecommerce platforms have empowered emerging young consumers in Tier II and III cities to increasingly shop online. It reveals that major players like Amazon and Flipkart, and niche market players such as Meesho are fiercely competing in these markets.

Singhai says the main reason she shops online is the lack of need to travel. As a stay-at-home mother, she’s busy all day with household chores and managing the kids. “Online shopping is something that I can engage in at any part of the day… whenever I find some free time. Sales, offers, discounts, and most importantly, constant notifications about a sale are things that make me choose online shopping over traditional shopping,” she says.
The growing online shopping craze in Tier I and II cities
The study shows that the top three triggers for online shopping are attractive prices (57 percent), convenient return and exchange processes (57 percent) and irresistible offers (49 percent). It also reveals that women spend 149 hours annually on ecommerce; Gen-Z shops more frequently online (51 percent) than millennials (47 percent); 62 percent purchase clothing and accessories online, while 54 percent buy electronics and electronic gadgets online.

“In a large, diverse market such as India, both online and offline retail will continue to coexist. As consumers continue to gain digital fluency, the ecommerce boom will also significantly benefit small business owners. This will contribute to the rise of India’s trillion-dollar internet economy,” CMR said in a statement.

According to the study, 86 percent of consumers rely on influencers’ or publishers’ reviews to make their purchase decisions. Around two-thirds of online users search rather than browse while buying accessories; and consumers typically make their buying decisions prior to visiting an online shopping platform.
The growing online shopping craze in Tier I and II cities
Amazon is the most favoured platform for users for its attractive prices, easy return/exchange process, brand trust, and convenience of shopping across pin codes in India, according to the survey. Over the past six months, 73 percent consumers from both Tier I and II cities have shopped at Amazon, the study reveals. “I usually go for Myntra and Ajio. Myntra because of the great range of amazing-looking products, mostly clothes. And Ajio for its superb discounts. However, for any home decor or electronic products, I go to Amazon,” says Singhai, adding that Facebook ads are a vital source for her to discover new products and offers.