With increasing financial independence, women in India exhibit individualistic shopping behaviour across geographies. The next phase of growth for e-commerce will be driven by the new digital savvy consumers of tier 2, 3 and 4 cities in India, according to a report by PwC India report.

The report, titled ‘How India shops online: Consumer preferences in the metropolises and tier 1-4 cities,’ is based on the survey of 2,100 respondents.

The urban dwellers in India are defined as those living in cities with a population of over 1 million.

More than 60 per cent of people prefer shopping via apps over websites. There was a clear preference for marketplace apps since they cater to many categories, according to the report.

The report added that social media platforms play a pivotal role in driving product trials, with 62 per cent of users trying products after seeing them on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

While both urban dwellers and rest of India consumers display comparable acceptance of UPI payments, cash on delivery remains the preferred option among the latter to minimise fraud risks. Generation X from rest of India regions prefers card transactions for mid-high value purchases, citing transaction safety as a key factor.

Prompt delivery is the most important factor in choosing an online platform for urban Indians, and they are ready to pay a premium price for it.

“Urban dwellers, who prioritise speed in online shopping, are particularly drawn to prompt delivery services which meet their demand for instant gratification and are willing to pay a premium price for the same,” the report said, adding that in the rest of India, the consumers are “bargain and discount hunters”.

“The next phase of growth for e-commerce will be driven by the new digital savvy consumers of tier 2,3 and 4 cities in India. In contrast to urban dwellers, these individuals, constrained by limited access to physical stores and brand choices consider online shopping a gateway to fulfil their aspirations” said Somick Goswami, Partner and Business Transformation Leader, PwC India.

It added that consumers prefer human interaction over chatbots for customer service and assistance.