Internet has played a silent but important role in giving a boost to India’s consumption story. The e-commerce industry, which in India is still in its infancy, has given ordinary consumers the opportunity to experience an extraordinary lifestyle by giving them access to larger than life offers at an affordable price.
Getting a discount on real estate (not available offline), hiring a bartender to host a New Year’s party to entertain your friends and family, or experiencing a unique helicopter ride in the city is no longer a dream or out of reach for consumers. Be it in one’s hometown, in the peaceful countryside or in a bustling business centre, consumers can now experience deals across locations with just a few taps of the keyboard.
E-commerce, simply put, has become an everyday routine for millions of internet users in India. In terms of numbers, the Indian e-commerce market - that includes travel sites as well as online retailers - is estimated to be worth Rs 50,000 crore currently and expected to grow to almost Rs 120,000 crore by 2015. This implies that billions are spent every year on deal sites where not just consumers are benefiting, but it has also revolutionised the way businesses engage with and sell to consumers. It also means that vendors are no longer restricted by geography and can reach out to any consumer, located anywhere across the globe.
What makes these offers irresistible is their exclusivity, quality, experience and, of course, price. E-commerce platforms today have evolved into a lifestyle discovery engine which brings an array of such deals to consumers. While consumers gain considerably with the ease of access and minimum time required to make an offer your own; at the other end of the field, internet has connected merchants with an empowered consumer who wants something different every day. With the reach of the internet growing every day, the online deals platform provides merchants with a unique way to reach a huge audience with a sizeable spending capacity for free.
So, what’s making the consumer opt for online shopping options over traditional off-the-shelf purchases? Well, other than some of the key factors i.e. convenience, value prices and 24/7 accessibility, it is the greater choice and variety of product offering. This customised product offering has opened a new experiential deals window that can be enjoyed on one’s time and convenience with minimum fuss.
With such diverse services at the core, online shopping websites are giving consumers a large range of retailers or merchants to choose from. It’s this choice that has put the purchasing power firmly in the hands of the consumer.
The author is CEO, Crazeal, Groupon India