Posts filed under ‘E-commerce’

E-commerce – Proportional contribution by categories

Our last post was on the penetration of e-commerce and the proportion of retail sales contributed by e-commerce , across 5 countries. After reading it, one of our loyal readers asked us for some more information about e-commerce in India. Hence, this time we’re looking at the total value of e-commerce sales contributed by various categories of purchase / transaction.

India Ecom Contrib v2

 

The pie-chart above shows the proportion of e-commerce sales contributed by various categories in India :

(Data source: IAMAI IMRB Icube 2015 )

  • In India, the total value of e-commerce transactions was a whopping Rs. 125, 732 cr in 2015, and it grew at 28% CAGR between 2012-15.
  • That online travel drives a bulk of e-commerce revenue in India is a fact that anyone who reads a newspaper is aware of ; this chart adds the details – 61% of the total e-commerce revenue of Rs. 1.25 lakh crore was driven by online travel. Of this, domestic air tickets are the largest chunk, followed by railway tickets, and then international air tickets.
    • While online travel grew at a CAGR of 30% over the three years from ’12 to ‘15, rail tickets (17% CAGR) and domestic ticketing (22% CAGR) are slowing down the growth
  • What we typically call e-commerce and should more accurately be termed e-tailing – i.e. the purchase of various types of products online – is actually just 30% of the total value of e-commerce transactions.
    • However, e-tailing grew at a CAGR of 80% from ’12 to ‘15
    • The 3 categories within ‘e-tailing’ that are driving the growth are ‘Mobiles phones’ (126% CAGR),’consumer durables’ (135% CAGR) and ‘home furnishings’ (94% CAGR).
  • The ‘Food delivery’ segment , albeit relatively small at just 1.4% of total e-commerce, also grew by leaps and bounds with an 89% CAGR from ’12 to ‘15.

 

Now that we’re familiar with the data for India, let’s compare the proportional split of e-commerce sales in India by category with that in the U.S. :

India, US Ecom Contrib v2

(Data source: IAMAI IMRB Icube 2015 ; eMarketer Apr 14 for US showing 2015 projection, validated through other sources  )

  • In e-tailing in India, there is an over-dependence on ‘computers, durables and consumer electronics’ as compared to the U.S. – almost 50% of total e-tailing in India vs. 22% in U.S.
  • If we benchmark to U.S., most categories in India – e.g. ‘apparel’, ‘personal care’, ‘home furnishings’, ‘books’, ‘auto and parts’ – have the scope to grow faster than ‘computers, durables and electronics’. Of course, benchmarking to the U.S. is something that could led to wrong conclusions too, as so many e-commerce firms in the hyperlocal space have seen recently ; hence the need to tread carefully after investigating consumer needs, current satisfaction levels and the nature of the gap
    • Interestingly, ‘Auto and components’ is something that hasn’t taken off in e-commerce in India at all, while in the U.S. it is 10% of e-commerce by value. The Indian online car market is limited to ‘second hand cars’ which is mostly a ‘classifieds’ business.

 

  • Ravindra Ramavath
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August 22, 2016 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

E-commerce – penetration and value of retail sales, across 5 countries

In Q4 ’15, India surpassed the US to become the #2 market in terms of Internet users behind China. However, e-commerce sales in India are nowhere near the value they generate in the U.S. or in China. So here’s a look at internet penetration, digital buyers and e-commerce sales of the top 5 countries by total retail Sales.

We’ve been interested in this topic for a few years now ; in this post almost two years ago we tried to gauge the penetration of e-commerce in four BRIC countries by comparing the proportion of their population that was active online vs. the proportion of population that actually shopped online. In today’s post, we’ve gone one step further and looked at the value of sales originating from those that shop online, i.e. the proportion of total retail sales value that is contributed through the e-commerce channel. For this purpose, the countries that we’ve chosen are those that are the top 5 in terms of total value of retail sales, namely USA, China, Japan, Germany and India, in decreasing order of sales value.

ECom_Contrib

[Since there’s a lot of information in this infographic, here’s how to read it :

Each of these five countries is linked to two sets of concentric circles, one in the top half of the chart and one in the bottom half of the chart. The set of concentric circles on the top had population numbers and that at the bottom has sales figures. Now for the details.

Let’s consider India as an example. The outermost circle in the top set of concentric circles for India tells us that our country has 925 mn people aged 14 years or more. The circle inside it shows that of these 925 mn people, 221 million or 24% are internet users. The innermost circle shows that only 82 Mn – or 9% of the 925 mn people – are digital shoppers and make online purchases of goods and services other than travel and events.

The bottom circle linked to each country shows the total value of retail sales and the proportion that is conducted via e-commerce. For instance, total retail sales in India are estimated at 818 Bn USD, and that conducted over e-commerce is just 14 Bn USD, or 1.7% of the total.]

So in spite of all the hype around this channel and the huge spend on advertising by the e-commerce players, a mere 9 % of our population shops online, and these purchases account for only 1% of total retail sales. Why only 1% ? Either due to a lower frequency of shopping online vs. visiting a retail store and / or due to a lower value of goods being purchased online. The latter seems unlikely since a large proportion of online sales are for mobile phones and accessories, followed by apparel and footwear, so it must be the low frequency to blame. Two big obstacles for e-commerce to surmount are now clear – the low penetration of online shopping amongst internet users, and the low frequency of online shopping among those that do shop online.

On to our neighbour China. While 56% of their total population is online, over half of these make purchases online. No wonder that sales through the e-commerce channel are 15.9% of total retail sales in China, as the bottom circle shows.

Surprisingly, though the US has a far greater proportion of population that makes purchases online ( 65% of its total population buys through e-commerce), these account for only 7.1% of total retail sales. Wonder whether it’s the ugly frequency problem rearing its head again, or whether it’s due to low unit value of goods purchased.

  • Ravindra Ramavath

July 25, 2016 at 11:16 am Leave a comment

Why Snapdeal sponsors Big Boss, and Flipkart / Pepperfry / Fabfurnish / Jabong / Amazon etc. advertise on mass media

The sudden surge in e-commerce firms advertising on mass media has surely not gone unnoticed by readers of this blog. While Flipkart has been advertising on TV for a few years now (read our posts on their ads here  and here) , in the last few weeks every e-commerce firm (with deep pockets and / or investors) has jumped on the bandwagon. Switch on TV and ads for Pepperfry / Fabfurnish / Jabong / Amazon etc. appear as often as those for soaps, soft drinks and biscuits ; drive on any major artery in Mumbai and alongside posters of political parties that contested the just concluded state elections you’ll find those for Pepperfry.com ; print media has been used extensively too with some players even splashing their ad on the front page.

Of course, with the Dussehra – Diwali festival season approaching, one would expect any retail venture to step up promotions and advertising, we see almost all brands and supermarkets doing so too. But what drives the young e-commerce firms to advertise on mass media ? Surely they’re masters of advertising on the internet and on social media, which are not only cheaper media, but allow the brand to fine-tune targeting their audience in a manner that mass media simply cannot match. So why spend big bucks on a (relatively) scatter-shot approach when you have a finely tuned laser at your disposal ?

Ah, take a look at the results of the same. As per this news report, Snapdeal’s sponsorship of the popular teleserial ‘Big Boss’ resulted in them recording highest ever sales. This article quotes Vikram Chopra, CEO and co-founder of FabFurnish, “During and after a few months of the television campaign, our traffic increased two and half times.” And I’m not even getting into describing Flipkart’s Big Billion Day sale, as the furore afterwards has ensured that everyone knows all about the record number of prospective customers that logged in on the day. Would advertising on digital and social media alone give e-commerce companies the same outcome ?

One simple fact can help answer this. Amongst the Indians who are active online, a low proportion actually shop online; we gave the data related to this in a post a few weeks ago. For instance, in Russia and China, almost half of the population that are active online also shop online ; whereas in India this proportion is a little less than 10%.

pic - infographic and e-commerce firms' logos

There are various reasons for this. Firstly, the number bandied around as the number of Indians that are active online includes even those who access the internet infrequently. As this post shows , in the top 35 cities which account for 42% of Active net users, only 54% access the internet daily. The All-India figure for percentage of active internet users who access the net daily is much lower.

Now, layer this with the fact that a significant proportion of sales for e-commerce firms are from tier 2 cities, and you see the importance of getting their residents transacting online. The best media for targeting these markets is still TV. As this article mentions Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl saying during a conference, “All e-commerce companies want to penetrate the tier-II market and Big Boss is a great medium for that.”

Hence, the necessity for e-commerce firms to advertise on mass media and attract more people onto online media, simply advertising on digital media just won’t suffice as not enough people are active online.

  • Zenobia Driver

October 20, 2014 at 6:36 am 3 comments

Internet penetration and the proportion that shop online – a comparison across four countries

After last week’s post on segmentation in the apparel e-tailing space, we thought we’d share some information on internet penetration in India and the proportion of the population that makes purchases online. To make this more interesting, we decided to compare the data across four countries, and represent this in an easy – to – understand graphic.

 

India-Internet-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Ravindra Ramavath

September 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm Leave a comment

Segmentation in the apparel e-tailing space

Segmentation in apparel e-commerce brands - one comparative pic A friend who recently purchased some kurtas online made a chance remark about how only certain sites stocked the kind of kurtas that she was looking for and this set me looking through the catalogs of various e-commerce sites.

As the apparel e-tailing space in India has grown and evolved, various brands are consciously segmenting their audience (basis demographic variables, occasion of use etc.) and targeting specific segments ; this is evident from the conversations on their facebook pages, their ads, and of course, the offerings in their online catalogues. Even within a particular type of apparel – for instance, women’s ethnic wear, the styles, colours and prints of salwar-kameez sets or kurtis varies, as do the ages and the demeanour of the models in the pics.

 Zohraa - pic Segmentation in apparel e-commerce brands For instance, consider the salwar-kameez collection of Utsav Fashion and Zohraa. In the case of Utsav Fashions, which started off as an offline store and switched to the online model only when they realised that a significant percentage of their business was coming from NRIs abroad, it is not surprising that the focus is on occasion wear. On the other hand, Zohraa, a relatively young firm whose site started operations during the second half of 2012, recognised the opportunity to differentiate itself in a crowded online market-place and consciously decided to focus on occasion – wear, or as their website expresses it, ‘….. our collection of elegant and opulent occasion wear…. that reflects the sensibilities of the royal wardrobes of the past, while ensuring that the cut and the drape are modern, comfortable and practical for the woman of today.’   

Then consider Jabong, which started operations in January 2012 and is targeting a younger, more westernised demographic. Their youthful and light-hearted – even sometimes irreverent – attitude is displayed in the ‘fashion nikla mann fisla’ series of ads (links to the ads here, here and here). To match this, even the collection of women’s ethnic wear at Jabong is far younger, more casual and breezy, witness the difference between this set of pics and the earlier ones.  

jabong piclime road 

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, Suchi Mukherjee’s Lime Road, which also started in 2012 seems to be targeting a different demographic and a different usage occasion. Lime Road’s stated identity is as a social commerce site targeted at the modern woman. It seems to carry colours, prints and styles that are just perfect for the young working woman, and sits neatly in the space between Jabong’s breezy casual style and the occasion wear offered by Zohraa and Utsav Fashion.  

If you’ve noticed this in other sectors of the online apparel market, do write us a comment. Meanwhile, we’re looking at other types of apparel and accessories too, and will post on this topic again if something catches our attention.

  • Zenobia

August 28, 2014 at 11:05 am 6 comments

Flipkart’s apparel ads – mixed reactions

We’d commented on the Flipkart ‘No Kidding, No Worries’ series of ads in this post in 2011. To summarise – we unequivocally liked those ads and thought that they used the techniques of kids in adult situations well to make their point with warmth and humour.

However, we have mixed opinions on the next two series of ads.

Some of us felt that the second series of ads – ‘Shopping ka naya address’ (see ads here, here and here) felt a bit dull without the tinge of humour that rounded off the ‘No Kidding’ series so well. However, the third and current series of ads for Flipkart’s apparel range (see the ads here, here and here) seems to have tapped into that vein of humour again, albeit inconsistently. These ads used the juxtaposition of a traditional / formal mode of dressing vs. a modern and funky one rather well, especially in the Carnatic music ad which is the cutest of the lot. That ad definitely breaks through the clutter, it makes you smile and notice that flipkart’s now talking about apparel.

Others among us felt that this this series stretched the technique of using kids too far. The ‘No kidding’ series used kids well to address the trust issue that worried consumers when shopping on the internet and to make the point of ease of shopping; even the first few ads of the ‘shopping ka naya address’ series were more or less addressing the trust issue of e-commerce and the kids bought this out dramatically.

However, the format fell flat the moment they moved from addressing issues and benefits where the use of kids was relevant to making the point to just using the kids as a cute technique.

We haven’t been able to reach a consensus on these ads yet. What’s your opinion, on which side do you weigh in – do drop us a comment and let us know.

  • Escape Velocity Team and Friends

May 27, 2013 at 7:33 am 2 comments

Flipkart Ads – We Like!

Brand: ‘Flipkart’, the popular online shopping site

Tagline: No kidding, no worries

Our opinion: Well, the title of this post summarises my opinion rather well.

The ads break through the clutter with the use of kids in adult situations (in office, shopping, at a beauty parlour, etc.); even better, rather than use them just for cutesy – pie warm stuff, the ads use them to make a point humorously. And I like the implicit pun on the word ‘kidding’.

The two ads set in an office situation get the office situation, behaviour and dialogue bang on. And I like the way that a line that underlines childhood is popped in (the classic ring-a-ring-aroses in this one !!) at the perfect time.

 

This interaction at the water-cooler is my favourite

 

Links to other ads in the series here and here.

 

Do share you opinion of these ads with us.

By,

Zenobia D. Driver

December 5, 2011 at 5:21 am 11 comments

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