New Delhi, October 31 (IANSlife): Shopify India has released an exclusive industry trends report based on its 2021 Consumer Insights survey. The Festive Shopping Outlook Report 2021 was developed against the backdrop of the pandemic, even as India’s retail sector continues to experience dramatic changes in consumer behavior and shopping habits.
The survey, conducted between September 15, 2021 and October 20, 2021, among 800 Indian buyers in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, reveals the evolution of consumers’ purchasing preferences as the holiday season approaches. These trends will ultimately determine the course the Indian retail sector takes, elevating consumer strategies and aligning with the new order.
The survey was released to decode the changing trends and feelings of consumers in the run-up to Diwali – one of India’s most important annual festivals, which also translates into the country’s largest shopping spree. . Basically, the report aims to study the impact that several bottlenecks, changing retail landscapes and a struggling economy have had on the pockets and mindsets of consumers.
The report published nine major trends that emerged from the Consumer Insights survey:
Increased confidence in e-merchants dilutes anticipated traditional festive purchases
The allure of last minute discount offers along with the benefits of fast / express delivery offered by online retailers have helped gain consumer confidence. According to the report, 2 in 3 Indian shoppers had not started shopping for the holiday season when completing this survey. This contrasts sharply with traditional behaviors before the pandemic, where festive shopping in India was in full swing almost a month in advance.
Small towns in India are emerging as key growth poles for online shopping
Multiple factors such as nationwide mobile penetration, brands choosing to upgrade to a D2C model, improved last mile delivery, and user-friendly return policies have helped drive the millennial non-metro customer to opt for digital media. While online shopping – over the past decade – has been widespread among consumers in India’s Tier I metropolitan cities, the pandemic has accelerated and has pushed that growth up in Tier II city rankings and non-metros as well. 53.5% of Generation Y non-metro shoppers showed a strong preference for shopping online.
Health and Safety Concerns Push Customers to Adopt Technology-Driven Family Shopping Experiences
Even with an increase in vaccinations, consumers are wary of offline / physical purchases and in-person interactions. The convenience, value for money, and personalization offered by online gamers have increased the attractiveness of shopping. However, one thing remains the same – Indian shopping continues to be a family affair! Half of the survey respondents indicated that they would prefer to involve their families even when shopping online during the holiday season.
Local businesses will win big as consumers see the benefits of buying locally
Almost 58% of those surveyed said they would prefer to support and buy from small businesses online during the holiday season this year. This contrasts sharply with the usual penchant for high-end brands when it comes to party favors and shopping. Small retailers have succeeded in capturing the attention and loyalty of consumers by offering a range of value-for-money options, as well as individual attention and personalized experiences. These benefits, combined with the emotional appeal consumers feel to support and encourage businesses struggling to survive, have helped boost online sales at these small, local establishments.
Festive gifts become utilitarian
Consumers are now turning to gifts with high functionality and utility value, as opposed to standard party candy or dried fruit tokens. Home lockdowns have led consumers to realize the need to constantly improve or improve their homes. It’s no surprise that decor and furnishings are at the top of this year’s festive shopping lists, with over 50 percent of respondents indicating a preference for gifts in this category.
Big budgets parked for electronics, darkening the spotlight on jewelry
Despite being seen as symbols of auspiciousness and social status, gold and precious metal jewelry, which were traditional festive gifts, appear to have fallen out of favor with Indian buyers this year. The pandemic has prompted consumers to put their money where the biggest addictions are; in technological gadgets. In this holiday season, electronic gadgets are all set to command maximum consumer gift budgets with almost 42% of respondents showing an increased propensity to use them. High-speed internet connections and the increased need to stay connected have increased consumers’ reliance on gadgets. This has resulted in a high proportion of the reduced party budgets allocated to electronics this year.
Consumer sentiment confirms online shopping boom is here to stay
76.9% of Indian consumers show a strong inclination to shop online this holiday season due to the convenience they offer. While festive shopping has traditionally been an offline retail activity, pandemic-induced restrictions put in place to contain the virus have forced most retail activity to move online. A practice that many consumers also know and appreciate for the bouquet of benefits it offers. However, this year, even with the lifting of most restrictions, high vaccination rates and a drop in the number of covid cases in India, Shopify India has seen a continued preference for virtual retail.
Contactless Spending Set to Dominate Future of Payments in India and “Bharat”
With the pandemic requiring contactless payments and increasing cashless transactions, cash is no longer king in an economy that previously relied heavily on cash. Army of the second largest mobile user base in the world, India has entered the era of electronic payments with simple, convenient and accessible UPI payment options. Almost 50% of those surveyed said they preferred to process payments through UPI rather than any other form of transaction. Interestingly, preference remains constant in both online and offline shopping experiences.
Diwali 2021 is expected to witness the rise of a generation of smarter, more savvy Indian consumers who rely heavily on technology and mobile connectivity. They now seek convenience and value above all else and have moved away from traditional token gifts. It can be said that this year Indian consumers are planning their Diwali shopping with an eye to the future. A future that they are already scripting; one rupee at a time.