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Nearly 2/3 Netizens In India Visited Online Retail Sites Last Month: comScore

Online shopping is still going through a nascent stage but it is tipped for a big takeoff if the latest figures on consumer interest are any indication. Around 60 per cent of Internet users in India visited an online retail site last month, according to comScore. However, all of this does not translate into actual buying as many people use the Internet to research (read: check prices) but it does indicate the potential user base has already scaled up quite a bit.

In November 2011, 27.2 million online users in India (age 15 and above) accessed the online retail sites from a home or work computer, an increase of 18 per cent from the previous year.

The number doesn't match with that of industry body IAMAI which says India has crossed the mark of 100 million Internet users. In contrast, comScore's number implies that number is less than 50 million. But comScore's data excludes visits from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.

But if we leave aside the headline number, the comScore report throws up some interesting trends. For instance, coupons was the largest retail subcategory with 7.6 million visitors to daily deal sites, an increase of a staggering 629 per cent from the previous year.

Consumer electronics came second with 7.1 million visitors (growth of 12 per cent from 2010) followed by comparison shopping sites with 5.8 million visitors, an increase of 25 per cent from the previous year.

Here's a tablet on the top 10 retail and coupon sites by unique visitors (not necessarily buyers) in November 2011.

Snapdeal.com led the coupon category with 5.2 million visitors, followed by Mydala.com with 1.4 million visitors and Crazeal.com with around 1 million visitors.

"The online channel is playing an increasingly important role in connecting retailers with potential customers in India. The rapid growth of online coupon sites suggests that consumers in India are looking for deals, highlighting the need for online retailers to adopt effective marketing and pricing strategies for their goods," said Kedar Gavane, comScore director for India.

Who Gets The Most Eyeballs?

Surprise, surprise! Even though world's largest online retailer Amazon is yet to start selling in India, the Amazon sites were the number one retail destination in India with 6.8 million visitors (14.7 per cent of the online population). Amazon was followed by Apple.com worldwide sites that saw 3.4 million visitors and Samsung group with around 2.8 million visitors.

This is interesting because Amazon has not officially entered the Indian market, but people in India can still buy stuff from Amazon (like the Kindle e-readers) by paying online in dollars (though they are subject to import duties etc). The product is then delivered via Amazon's global international shipping. The Amazon site is also often used by customers to compare global prices of the products available in the Indian market.

Among the Indian e-tailers Flipkart.com (2.7 million visitors), HomeShop18.com (2.3 million visitors) and Naaptol.com (2.1 million visitors) were the other top retail destinations for online users in India.

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