Online sites and apps became the preferred mode of shopping for 49% of Indian consumers in the last 12 months, as per a Local Circles survey.
Safety from COVID-19 and convenience were cited as top reasons by consumers for using ecommerce. 69 per cent of those who shop on ecommerce bought groceries/essential supplies online.
Consumers used large ecommerce platforms as well as small verticals or local ecommerce sites to purchase groceries and essentials.
As per the survey, feedback indicates shopping via ecommerce sites & apps has become a habit for 33% ecommerce shoppers and their usage continues despite markets, retail stores and malls being fully functional and open.
The survey said consumers are using services like Big Basket, Amazon Fresh/Pantry, Jio Mart, Flipkart, Grofers and a host of local ecommerce sites for essentials and groceries since March 20.
Consumers reported improvement in returns and refunds processing and ability to reach out to customer service of ecommerce sites and apps in the last 12 months.
The highest number of consumers say free shipping for all orders and more effective and efficient returns and refunds process will make them use e-commerce sites and apps more for their purchases going forward.
LocalCircles conducted an extensive study which received over 130,000 responses from over 42,000 unique consumers located in 358 districts of India. 48% of the study participants were from Tier 1 districts while 31% were from Tier 2 districts and 21% were from Tier 3, Tier 4 and rural districts.
While 49% of consumers in the survey said they preferred "ecommerce sites and apps" for shopping in the last 12 months, 18% said they "called local retail stores and get home delivery", 31% "visited mall, local retailers, markets and shop there", while 2% couldn't say.
While consumers trusted the ecommerce platform for reasons of safety, when asked about why they continued the use of the ecommerce sites and apps to regularly make their purchases in the last 12 months, 63% said "personal safety or social distancing norms due to COVID-19", 61% said "convenience", 45% said "ease of return and refund", 44% said "better value or price", 41% said "fast delivery", and another 41% said "product range". The findings indicated that "personal safety" and "convenience", followed by "ease of return or refund" and "better value" were top reasons why consumers made their purchases on ecommerce sites and apps in the last 12 months.