What women want from online shopping

Prasad Sangameshwaran | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on October 08, 2015


Caanvas India’s survey tells us what they want to load their cart with, and how they would go about it

Shopping is therapeutic, perhaps more so for the fairer sex. But do women behave any different when they shop online?

Caanvas India, an online research, insights and analytics firm, decided to delve into the minds of Indian women while they go shopping online.

Before understanding their online behaviour, one must look at how women differ from men when it comes to shopping in the brick-and-mortar universe. Women like to spend more time inside stores comparing options, while men want to be out of the store at the earliest. Women don’t mind going the extra mile while for men, it has to be quick and easy. Women consider shopping relaxing and a social activity, they are more patient and inquisitive and do not mind the wait for the store to slowly reveal itself.

Who and what influences them

But women are now increasingly shopping online. So, do the physical world rules still apply? Caanvas interviewed 522 people over e-mail across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune. More than 60 per cent of the respondents were in the age group of 26-40 years and nearly 70 per cent were professionals.

The topmost motivator to buy online across cities was convenience, followed by deals and discounts and better prices. But different parts of the country had different top priorities. Aditi Chaudhary, co-founder and managing partner, Caanvas India, says that the option to return goods bought online topped the list of preferences in Delhi, while in Mumbai and Pune, deals and discount were top-of-mind for the women shoppers. In Bengaluru, convenience was top on the checklist, including the ease of checking, number of options available and the ease of buying.

Overall, the top influencer for women purchasing online was their husband, while friends came a close second. However, this differed according to the age group. For the 15-20-year olds and those in the age group of 26-30, parents were the biggest influencers while for those in the 20-25-year age bracket, friends were right on top. But it was the 31-40-year-olds who chose to spend their money based on their husband’s opinions while women above 40 preferred to take their children’s views as the top influencer.

What they buy

Expectedly, mobile phones, electronics and appliances, followed by clothing and accessories, top the shopping list. The surprise packet was the third most popular item bought online — home and kitchen appliances. The category was ahead of beauty and health products, books, handbags and baby care on the popularity charts.

However, in the case of working women, they did not shy away from buying health and beauty online, while for housewives the most popular online purchase was vegetables and groceries.

Chaudhary points out that while most online marketers are busy promoting their shopping apps, women preferred to shop either using their laptop or desktops. The only exception was Delhi where the majority of respondents preferred the shopping app as a medium to shop.

However, the road is not all that smooth for the growth of online shopping. An important chunk of the respondents (35 per cent) were not frequent shoppers online.

The biggest barriers are the fear of substandard quality and delivery costs, says Chaudhary. Post-sales service and the provision to return things if they did not appeal to shoppers when they saw the physical product were also emerging as important parameters.

There was a long shopping list of products that women currently preferred to buy in physical stores but would certainly not mind buying online more often.

These included vegetables, groceries, home and kitchen appliances and apparel and accessories. But for that to happen online marketers will have to win their confidence.

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Published on October 08, 2015
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