43-year-old Remya recollects buying a washing machine twelve years ago from a nearby white goods store solely based on the salesman’s recommendation. But this year, when she wanted to buy smart TV for her home, she did not ask any salesman. Rather she took to some YouTube videos, blogs, went through the brand websites and bought the TV online. The boom in online shopping has changed the way Indians make purchase decisions. While advertisements on various platforms play an important role in creating awareness, consumers are resorting to digital platforms for researching more about the products.
The survey conducted by Smart Home Guide among home appliance buyers showed that 23% of the respondents depended on brand websites for finding necessary information about the product they wanted to buy, while 22% sought guidance from YouTube videos. Reviews on e-commerce portals too had a significant influence on buying decisions, with 21% saying that they relied on them. Peer recommendation influenced as much as 17% of the purchases, while 9% sought references from blogs. It’s evident that digital platforms are becoming an all-encompassing ecosystem that completely assist consumers from the beginning to the end of their buyers’ journey.
Online platforms as a whole have seen a significant rise in traffic since Covid-19. Parvathy Pothan, CEO of Smart Home Guide says, “As consumers aren’t able to get the look and feel of products from the stores, they are resorting to unboxing videos and reading product reviews on blogs to make informed purchase decisions.”
The allure of online shopping is not limited to discounts alone. While in the store you are often pressured to buy something quickly, you have the pleasure of taking enough time to make a decision when you are buying online. This proves to be especially convenient for big-ticket purchases where due diligence is required. The survey reports that 49% of home appliance buyers took 1 week or less to finally buy something, while 27% took as long as 2 weeks.
Indians are generally known to be price-conscious. Even so, as per the survey, the price wasn’t the topmost consideration when it came to big-ticket purchases. While the price was the top influencing factor for 33% of buying decisions, brand credibility was more important for 38% of the buyers. The findings show that Indian consumers are looking for value-for-money propositions where durability and affordability go hand-in-hand.
The survey has also pointed to an interesting finding in terms of the buying habits of Millenials compared to the older generation. While the majority of millennials bought new appliances to upgrade the existing ones, the older generation was not so keen on upgrading for new features. The majority of those aged 45 plus bought new appliances only because the old ones broke down.
Though covid-19 has brought an overall gloom on real estate, moving to a new home motivated as much as 17% of buyers to invest in a new appliance. Out of the respondents who moved to a new home, the majority bought large appliances like TV, washing machine and refrigerators.
Online shopping reached unprecedented heights last year due to Covid-19 and related restrictions. With more than 50% preferring to buy online rather than opting for offline stores, this trend is likely to change the way Indian SMEs sell. All indicators signify that the positive trend of online shopping is likely to prevail beyond the pandemic.