How is Online Shopping Evolving in India?


Online shopping has had a rather slow and tumultuous journey in India, it has not picked up as much as it should have primarily due to the fact that internet penetration itself is quite low and  secondly (and importantly) the online shopping experience has been bad to say the least.

Although their are grass root  problems, I still believe that Online Shopping in India is evolving  fast and has the potential to grow exponentially in the times to come, as the internet penetration reaches far and wide across the rural area.

Traditionally, Indians are conservative in their approach to shopping. They want to touch and feel the products and test its features before buying anything.


In fact, selected price-savvy customers would also like to squeeze in an economical deal for themselves with appropriate price negotiation with the vendor. They are not the ones to accept the price at the face value. Well, nothing wrong in that as well ;)

With the passage of time came an era of less popular tele-shopping which dealt in limited range of products such as Astrology and spirituality products (such as Rudraksha Mala, Hanuman Kavach, Bal Raksha, etc), Health and fitness equipments (such as Tread Mill, Leg Massager, Height Increaser, Sauna Belt, etc) and even some of the Cooking ranges (including Juicers and Mixers, Vegetable Choppers, etc). But, most of these products could be termed as low-intensity and niche products which could interest only a limited target of people.

Most of us are also a witness to the recent mall culture where all the products are available under a single roof and at competitive price points. Little needs to be analyzed about it over here as most of you might have visited a mall at least for once as a past time on a weekend, if not for shopping precisely. Well, I often do it, to be frank. J

Next in line is the concept of virtual mall or online shopping which is already existent at its preliminary stage in India and is gradually growing exponentially. The market opened up with innovative online shopping initiatives from eBay, Rediff shopping and just to name a few.

In a sort of change of version from tele-shopping to a broader form of online plus television shopping saw the emergence of a 24-hour shopping channel from Network 18 – TV 18 Home Shopping Network.

As per the report, this fast growing channel has spread speedily with market presence across a range of products. It accounts for 4.5% of all digital camera sales in the country and largest seller of Reebok merchandises. In fact, the report further says that Home Shop 18 sells 480 brands under its portfolio.

It is akin to mentioning that, “I am wary about implications of carrying out online transactions to pay my utility bills fraught with risks of phishing and hacking fraud. But, since I wouldn’t prefer to stand in those long and cumbersome queues (and keep pondering as to ‘Mera number kab aayega?’) with my busy schedule, I would like to latch-on to online bill payments. I could as well write an article for Trak in those 30-40 minutes which I spend standing waiting in those serpentine queues.

Thus, with modernization and fast paced life, came the constraints of time and eventually increasing dependence on online shopping. This has led to online shopping coming off age in India. People have commenced shopping through the convenience of online portals from the comforts of their drawing rooms.

With case study of Home Shop 18 narrated above also points towards a new trend of convergence of online and TV shopping. It is needless to say that shopping has been revolutionized by its wide spread presence across the various mediums such as TV, online portals and even cell phones now that even internet can be accessible through affordable category smart phones.

Given above all the facts, Indian marketers are also increasingly becoming conscious about the viability of returned goods, if customer is not satisfied with the product. This may not sound true over here, but it is a part-and-parcel of the game involved in online shopping.

It is estimated that about a fifth of the buy orders get returned for the goods bought online. As such, most of the online sales are carried out on the condition of ‘If not satisfied with the product, full money to be returned’. Another factor is that most buyers pay on delivery which also keeps their options to return good open, if they do not like a particular product.

Waiting for you to add something on the prospects of Online Shopping? Would you…

  1. […] to fast catch-up with the growth in overall trade market. This can be gauged from the fact that e-commerce penetration is still quite lower even amongst active internet users who look for information regarding […]

  2. shareef says

    We are offering International courier services to Ecommerce shopping sites.

  3. K M HUSSAIN says

    Online shopping is next big thing in India. There is transparency in price and quality. Choices are unlimited in online shopping. If someone finds a product expensive on one online shop he/she can look at another shop for the same product for cheaper price just at a click of a mouse, saving lots of time, energy and money. Looking at the chaotic public transport system in India, Online shopping is going to bring revolutionary changes the way Indians shop.

    Online shopping has already revolutionized the way people travel in India. One can book Air Tickets, Rail Tickets, Bus Tickets, etc. online hassle free. Online Utility Bill Payments are another area wherein people are benefiting from online bill payments without having to wait in long queues.

    Online Banking has also revolutionized the way people do banking. Anywhere Banking is the result of online transactions. NEFT & RTGS on Net Banking have completely changed the face of personal banking.

    There are still lots and lots of untapped potential in online transactions in India. The only drawback is low penetration of internet in rural India.

    E-Governance still lags behind due to the reasons best known to the governments.

    1. says

      Yes its correct. The online is the future because it saves lots of time and energy. But now no need to worry about the online shopping. We also launched a site named which enables local shopping via online. Online shopping is the one which is the futue as the technology and people are familiarizing with online which will gradually drag them to shop online.

  4. kartheek says

    This is the firat article reading negative abt online shopping… This is not true these recent years… Recently i read article on newspaper that crores of bussiness is done last 2 years..

  5. Sharon Methews says

    I am addicted to these sites.
    Best price n awesome delivery!

  6. anuj sharma says

    This is the time for online shopping in india…….Its getting bigger day by day.

  7. freediscounts says

    nice post. now a days maximum people choose online shopping. main reason is time saving. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  8. India Fashion says

    Online shopping is getting more popular because it gives advantages in whole world and since it’s online, people will have many choice where they will find the products or items they want. When it comes to products and items, i found all i want in india online shopping and i really like indian women fashion and deals in india is very cool.

  9. Gurpreet Singh says

    Its growing very fast and people , especially men do like to save time by shopping online.

  10. Robinsh says

    Hi there, I am very much excited about this article regarding online shopping in India and though to share an article I written yesterday to help Indians do online shopping with more confidence and security.

    Check the same now :-


  11. Bulbul says

    It’s not just the big players that are making waves either. Event buying niche online shopping India sites like are also taking in a lot of business with some amazing daily deals on branded products. This space is going to grow super fast!

  12. Sahil Khan says

    Hi Viral,
    I am working in Home shop 18 as a vendor monitoring & quality control. I have personal experience about the quality of dispatch happened through vendor. I totally agree with your points & the explaination.
    Though the fifth of the buy orders get returned for the goods bought online & it is the commitment made by onlline shopping sites that if the customer is happy with the product, they will return the full money.
    I want your guidance about my future. I am resigning from HS 18 & joining the same online shopping comapny. Is it good to leave HS 18 & joing the new comapny (can’t disclose the name) as HS 18 is good holder of market in online shopping.
    Require your valuable comments…

  13. prabhu says

    it is true, that sometimes the price of things on online stores are high than usual one but there are various online stores which are continuously putting there best efforts to reduce the price of the online items one among this is . this work on daily basis in giving offers discounts and coupons of all famous sites like ebay , yebhi ,future bazar etc

  14. Thebestshop India says

    Aser my concerned there is lot scope in online shopping only if awareness on internet is increased.

  15. Yoo Kart says

    Nice Article True Online E-Mall : Coming Soon!

    Working to come with “Online shop platform” which will enable all of you to easily open online store in Cloud’s SAAS Model.
    No IT Knowledge.
    No Maintenance responsibility.
    Manage your Store as simple as Facebook and Gmail account.

    Register today as Vendor

    Follow us on twitter!/YooKartCom.

  16. Rakesh Sharma says

    There has been a blast in the online retail space in the past few years. Most of these sites are into selling gadgets and books. But now innovative e-commerce sites like mygrahak have given a twist to the online sales tales. They are selling groceries online providing a relief to homemakers and young married couples who find it difficult to go to a store and buy. Online users are increasing by millions everyday and India is not far behind this trend. No wonder people are loving the online retail space as it provides them a private space and companies like mygrahak are only adding value to it.

  17. rakesh says

    I agree to the points you made in favor of online shopping. I feel online shopping to be very convenient and an easy-to-go method. No fighting the crowd, no waiting in long queues. Many Indians like me prefer online shopping these days. Many of my friends have also bought groceries online and they are very happy with – an online grocery store. Though I am yet to experience their services, the feedback I got was satisfactory. In fact, I might use them for my next monthly grocery buying. Well, I am saying all these just to draw attention to the fact that online shopping is the future.

  18. Amarnath says

    I think this online shopping is a boon to the new generation and it saves a lot of money by the way of fuel and parking. More over is is said that internet shopping is growing in a big way in India and is at present a 2000 crore business and it is said that by 2015 it will reach to 7000 crores. So I really feel this is the right time to venture into this area . Looking at the price factors,there is no much difference with local market,so it is really preferable and can try doing some online purchases.

  19. rohit says

    It is a long journey. It wil take more time for indians to buy most of the products online.
    Indian still prefer to touch the product, discuss with friends and compare with ten other simialr products before buying it. No such website provide this experience.

  20. Farzina Sahin says

    The content of “How is Online Shopping Evolving in India?” is nice and I would like to suggest something to those customers who don’t accept the price at the face value. Everyone of them spent long time and travel expense to go to shops , by online shopping they can save their valuable time and travel expense also. So save money and time by online shopping.

  21. Deepak says

    The article is nice also comments posted by various experts are valid. Can anybody produce data or statistics about top 50 products categories sold online in year 2010 and 2009. it sould help us support or reject the argument.

  22. Chennai Guide says is an effective medium to reach out for more businesses from buyers located in Chennai and across the country. We connect to buyers across the country, whenever they are ready to make a purchase and have the money Get qualified responses for your advertisement from business and home buyers we increase visibility of your business across the country and boost your customer base.

  23. Prerna says

    Do visit, they sell cheaper than the market/retail prices, infact wholesale prices. They just showcase one product every @ deep discounted prices and most of them are branded with manufacturer warranty.

  24. Rainu says

    Online shopping of train and air tickets is very commonplace and soon these buyers will also move towards other items like books and electronics from online stores.
    The ongoing discounts at Ebay, flipkart only help with these sales.

  25. Altaf Rahman says

    I dont know their actual business model. However I guess the basic difference between your beighbourhood retailer, mall and online shopping are as follows : I took the sample of buying rice from these 3 models. (I dont know if online shopping sells rice or not but theoritically it should work)

    Your neighbourhood retailer : The supply chain is very long. The farmer sells grain to broker, broker sells to mills, mill sell to town broker, town broker sells to city broker, city broker sells to wholesaler, your next door retailer buyes from wholesaler. Everybody got margins. You end up paying 40 rupees per kilo but farmer gets only 4 rupees.

    The Malls : The Malls theoritically claim to cut the big chain of supply and pass the benifit of cutting costs to customer/producer

    Online shopping : They further reduce the cost (of our travel to Mall, no need of display in Mall) etc and pass on the same to customer.

    Now from my point I do not understadn how prices can be more in Malls, online shopping.

  26. News Bird : News You can USe says

    The price tag is bit higher in online shops. Especially those electronic gadgets. Laser printers available at Rs.5000 with vendors is priced at more than Rs.6000/-. If we have an option to get the actual prices so easily whom they are fooling around?. I always visit these sites to learn the price range and use this information to bargain with the vendor( Around 20-30% less).

    Only once I’ve purchased a pen drive from Sify mall making sure that they are not selling for higher price. I often purchase books online with Books are the only things priced at less than face value and it’s a best buy considering the prices at book shops. I prefer Paypal payment rather than directly paying through net banking.

    Most of the tech savvy and even non-tech savvy friends of mine are reluctant even to get the free internet banking offer by their banks fearing that it’s not safe. In such case how can Online shopping grows in India?

    I stay in Tier-III city. once I’ve placed an order for books with After making payment and waited for few days, their customer support gal called me to inform that they can’t ship the order to the place where I live and demanding me to collect my order from the nearby city which takes almost 5hrs up and down. Finally I’ve cancelled my orders and got the money credited back.

    1. Viral says

      Hello News Bird,

      Nice to hear your personal experience about online shopping, and there is little I could contradict on your notes.

      But, on this, I would like to add one another perspective. Just take the example of ‘Malls’, where the prices quoted by the mall marketers for most of the products that they used to sell were much higher when the mall culture had commenced.

      However, during the last 2-3 yrs, the competition has increased manifold, what with such malls opening far & wide across the Tier 1 and 2 cities.

      Now, prices in malls are equal to or much lower than the ones in usual mom & pop stores in many cases. Similarly, over a period of time, once more and more companies venture into the ‘virtual mall’ (online shopping) concept, and as competition picks up, probably the price premium quoted on various products marketed by such online marketers is expected to come down.

  27. Damon Tindall says

    Great article Viral! It is great to get a perspective of the growth of online shopping in India. The Global Financial Crisis has seen retailers alike turn to ecommerce. Retailers who are looking to minimize overheads and improve their profit margins and consumers who are looking for greater value and convenience will continue to drive the growth in online shopping.
    As the owner of a global ecommerce business about to launch in India that combines aspects of Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay and iTunes; I am just so excited about the potential of social media to help grow a viral customer base.
    Thanks again for your fantastic article!

    1. Viral says

      Hello Damon,

      Nice to read that you liked the article. In deed, in this e-age, the prospects of online commerce has the potential to grow exponentially, subject to some grass root problems get addressed quickly.

    2. Madhav Shivpuri says

      Hi Damon,

      Definitely online shopping should sell for less than what a brick-and-mortar retailer sells for due to costs involved and that itself should create demand for your business. Having said that, there may be infrastructural issues that may be the biggest challenge in achieving the scale of success one dreams of. So, though my wife and millions of others may be avid social media users, whether they would shop online is a matter time would probably tell. Wish you all the best for your business venture.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

who's online