The LocalCircles survey found that 83% consumers look mainly for ratings and reviews.

37 online shoppers look for Country of Origin info on products Survey
Atom E-Commerce Monday, June 29, 2020 - 16:17

Amid the border standoff between India and China, the Ministry of Commerce recently asked all e-commerce platforms operating in the country to ensure that the ‘country of origin’ of all products is clearly listed on their platform. However, from a consumer point of view, only 37% consumers said they look for country of origin of a product, among other things while shopping online. 83% said they look for ratings and reviews.

These findings are from a survey conducted by community and social media platform LocalCircles to understand how important the ‘country of origin’ tag is for consumers while shopping. 

When asked what all information do they generally look at when buying a product from an e-commerce platform, 1% said only price and delivery date; 8% said price, MRP, discount and delivery date; 17% said price, delivery date, ratings & reviews; and 8% said they look for price, MRP, discount, delivery date and best before date.

12% said they look for the price, MRP, discount, delivery date, ratings and reviews, 17% said price, MRP, discount, delivery date, ratings & reviews, best before date; while 37% said they look for the price, MRP, discount, delivery date, ratings & reviews, best before date and country of origin of the product. 

MRP and discount information is being sought by 82% of consumers while 62% e-commerce consumers seek best before date on human consumption products. Price and delivery date was of prime importance to all e-commerce customers, the survey found. 

Through Packaged Commodity Rules 2017, e-commerce platforms were mandated to show an image of the principal display panel or include this information as text, and it was left to them as long as the information is displayed.

Principal display panel is the part of a product’s packaging that is most prominently displayed, and it likely what a consumer will first see when the product is displayed in a store.

Through various posts on LocalCircles, consumers have said they feel putting up the picture of the principal display panel would be the best as it will help them find most of the product information at one place. As per media reports, the government has sought from e-commerce platforms to make the ‘country of origin’ a searchable field, LocalCircles says. 

On being asked how consumers would prefer e-commerce platforms presenting product information to them, 17% said they should provide information in text format under product description and specifications, while 46% said the actual image of the product packaging including the principal display panel and MRP tag should be clearly displayed. 37% said either way is fine as long as information is made available. 

The survey notes that more than twice as many consumers prefer that the actual image of product packaging or principal display panel is made available on e-commerce platforms than text-based information. This is due to the fact that many consumers want to be able to browse and transact fast and hence prefer images as opposed to text as the latter is hard to find. 

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) recently called e-commerce companies like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc. to discuss displaying the ‘country of origin’ of the products on their platforms. However, the term “country of origin” is open to interpretations as a product could have majority of its components originating in one country while the final assembly may be happening in a different country and most sellers do not have an easy way of knowing that.

LocalCircles therefore suggests that instead of the seller filling up the field manually, it may be easier to have the sellers upload the image of the principal display panel along with the product’s images. This will also ensure parity between physical retail and e-commerce as the consumer will have access to product packaging via both the channels. 

A notification from the Legal Metrology Division defining the country of origin for both retail and e-commerce channels would also help in eliminating any ambiguity that might otherwise exist on the issues, said LocalCircles, adding that it will share its findings with the Legal Metrology Division, Department of Consumer Affairs as well as DPIIT.

The survey received over 16,300 responses spread across 239 districts of India. 63% respondents were men while 37% respondents were women. 51% respondents were from tier 1, 32% from tier 2 and 17% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.