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Tablet Sale Triples, E-commerce Sites Emerge as Primary Sales Channels [Report]

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E-commerce portals like Flipkart.com, Junglee.com and Snapdeal.com have become strong sales and marketing channels for tablets in India, suggests a report by research and advisory services firm Convergence Catalyst.

Traditional OTC retail outlets continue to be the dominant source of sales however market trends suggest that e-commerce websites are garnering increased consumer attention. The report estimates that about 10% of the total number of tablets sold in India are bought from e-commerce websites. These portals are either direct E-tailers like Flipkart.com, online aggregators like Junglee.com or online marketplace like Snapdeal.com.

The emergence of these websites as more than just shopping portals make them thriving hubs for buyers as well as online window shoppers. E-commerce websites are access points to product information and more importantly, user reviews.

Consumers are also using these websites to compare prices, avail discounts and take advantage of various payment / delivery options.

Convergence Catalyst reports that a majority of tablet purchases from e-commerce portals are made by urban users. Their purchases are being driven by the need to be mobile along with increased connectivity requirements for web browsing.

Monthly Tablet Sales

Most of these sales are for tablets priced around or below Rs. 10,000 (sub $200).

Manufacturers like Micromax, BSNL, iBall, HCL and Karbonn have on offer decent devices in the sub Rs. 10,000 range. From 3G connectivity to games and movies, budget tablets are giving end consumers the option to own feature packed devices which deliver better user experience than similarly priced smartphones.

The urban Indian consumer seems to be biting the tablet bug as Business Standard reported that tablets sales have surpassed netbook sales in FY2012. Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) estimates that 3.5 lakh tablets were sold in FY11-12.

From the perspective of an e-commerce website, higher tablet sales contribute towards increased revenue. With offers, deals and advertisements, these portals can potentially upsell products of higher value or that of a different brand.

For example when visitors go to Amazon.com, the world’s largest e-tailer, they are greeted by a display titled ‘The All-New Kindle Family’ featuring the new Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite. Whether or not it converts into a sale, this display is hard to go past and potential tablet buyers may very well click on it to ‘check out’ features of the tab.

A preliminary look at Flipkart.com’s analytics on Alexa reveals that tablet related search queries are some of the top traffic drivers. Keywords like ‘micromax funbook’ are a regular feature in the list of Top Queries. With a 27% bounce rate over a period of 3 months, nearly 7 out of 10 visitors stay on to browse through multiple pages within the website.

Alexa ranking

These stats have since long established a base for marketing and advertising opportunities. From front page product displays to featured listings, strategically placed marketing attempts can go a long way in brand promotion and subsequent sales.

Manufacturers would be keen to push their products through this channel and take advantage of the growing Indian e-commerce marketplace. Jayanth Kolla of Convergence Catalyst sees this current market trend as a ‘win-win situation’ for e-commerce portals, tablet manufacturers and end consumers.

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