Online purchasing through mobile phones is catching up fast in non-urban and rural areas.

According to eCommerce firm eBay India, the ratio between rural and urban buyers would be 1:10 right now but it may go up to 6:10 over next two years.

Net penetration

Internet penetration along with the growth in smartphones and tablets has led mobile commerce (mCommerce) to take off in India, it said. It is also becoming important for consumers who are using their mobile phone as a window to transact ‘anytime and anywhere’.

The company conducted a survey in May with over 4,500 eBay India users and found out that 94 per cent of them access the Internet on their mobile phones.

“Over 87 per cent of the users compare product prices online and 68 per cent of them have made online purchase using their smartphones,” Kashyap Vadapalli, Chief Marketing Officer, eBay India, told Business Line.

He said this behaviour will increase in India with the power of shopping on a ‘palm in pocket’ leading to growth from smaller towns and cities as well.

Many of these smartphone users (80 per cent) are also connected to social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, who end up purchasing products through advertisements on those sites, he said.

“There are 120 million Internet users in India today, out of which, 20 million users are through smartphones and tablet computers. We expect 100 per cent growth over the next one year with the number of such devices growing everyday,” he said.

Ecommerce revenue

According to independent research firm Forrester, eCommerce revenue in India will increase from $1.6 billion in 2012 to $8.8 billion by 2016.

Venture capitalists are also bullish on eCommerce growth, which invested $177 million in India last year. Social media and mobile are helping accelerate eCommerce adoption, it added.

ronendrasingh.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 15, 2012)
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