In India, organised retail represented just 5% of the country’s total compared to 85% in the U.S. and 20% in China, whereas online sales represented less than 1% of total retail (versus China’s 6%), amounting of $16.3 billion in 2013. Indian internet user is young (75% are under 35 years old), predominantly male (61%), and more occupied with social media than shopping. Time spent on retail sites is the lowest of the BRIC countries –17% in China, compared to 33% worldwide averages.
According to Google India research, the top shopping categories are: apparel & accessories, electronics, beauty & personal care, books and household products. Cross-border purchasing is limited by low disposable income levels ($6,460 per household in 2012), a preference for cash on delivery payments (only 25% of households possess credit or debit cards), and extremely complex tax measures owing to lack of a uniform GST. Internet access is still elusive and slow outside of largest cities, with fixed broadband access available to only 4% of households and smartphone penetration standing at just 3.5%. Lastly, extremely underdeveloped physical delivery infrastructure coupled with low population density makes logistics costs among the highest globally.
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