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E-commerce gaining steam in towns and villages: Survey

Bs Reporters  |  New Delhi/ Chennai 

Rural India, as well as towns of the tier-II and tier-III category, are fast catching up with the metros in e-commerce, a study says. What’s more, women are increasingly getting active in shopping online by prominently buying lifestyle and electronic items, says the fourth edition of eBay Census.

The exercise — capturing the year-long trends of buying and selling on the eBay platform from July last year — has also revealed that every minute sees four buyers making purchases at the Indian subsidiary of the American internet consumer-to-consumer company.

The most expensive purchase on the eBay India platform during the year was a Volkswagen Passat at a price tag of Rs 30 lakh in an auction after the IPL tournament, according to its country manager, Muralikrishnan B. The car, picked up by a Kerala buyer, was special as it was signed by several top cricketers who had participated in the tournament. Till now, the most expensive buy on eBay was a jet some years ago.

While Delhi emerged as the leading e-commerce hub in the country, others in the top 10 list were Mumbai, Bangalore, Jaipur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Pune and Chandigargh — in that order. Even as rural growth in e-commerce is higher than that in metros, the purchase proportion is still higher in the metros at 51 per cent of the total.

As for the buying trends, while digital SLR cameras are a fad in metros, binoculars are extremely popular in rural India and smaller towns. And while metros go for cufflinks, the smaller towns settle for wallets.

Across the country, the top exported items from India on eBay are solitaire pendants, wrist watches, DVDs, Indian Commonwealth stamps, natural and homeopathic remedies, PC games, sarees, lampwork, crystal and mineral specimens and belly dancing apparel. Among the top 10 imported categories on eBay are cellphones, stamps, watches, natural diamonds, sunglasses, blu ray DVDs, men’s shoes, netbooks, digital cameras and laptop batteries.

According to the survey, the leading brands on the platform are Sony, Nokia, Samsung, Apple, Reebok, Seagate, Casio, Micromax, LG and Canon. Micromax is the only Indian brand in the list.

As for city preferences, Delhi was active in buying body art, Mumbai had a fancy for handbags, Bangalore opted for maximum number of webcam, Jaipur chose to buy a record number of fashion socks, Ahmedabad imported the most nuts and seeds, and Kolkata picked up the highest number of calling cards, among others.

Online trading in rural India has jumped up to nine per cent of total sales through eBay, as compared to five per cent posted last year. The 1995-founded firm, headquartered in California’s San Jose, currently holds around 40 per cent of the total market in India.

The Indian e-commerce industry, excluding the online travel market, is estimated at Rs 6,340 crore and is expected to grow to Rs 8,630 crore this year.

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First Published: Thu, September 29 2011. 00:37 IST