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Window shopping

By Vishesh Sharma | 6/20/2011 6:16 PM Monday

Venkat Ramana, a research analyst was planning to buy a new cell phone. Since technology is what drives him, buying a hi-tech mobile phone was the obvious choice. However even after making several rounds of mobile stores, he could not find a phone to suitshis needs. Then one day while surfing, Venkat came across a website that offered hi-tech gadgets, including mobile phones at a much cheaper rate compared to the market. Without wasting a minute, he placed an order online and received the phone within 48 hours. That was the first encounter Venkat had with online shopping. Today most of his shopping is done online and he suggests the same to his friends and relatives too.

Changing Trends

Once upon a time in India, street shopping was the norm. Every weekend people used to plan casual trips to the local street markets. Places such as Fashion Street (Mumbai), Janpath (New Delhi), Commercial Street (Bangalore), and Flea Market (Goa) were the usual hangout zones for youngsters and elderly alike. Whether you wanted to shop for clothing, accessories or electronic goods, there used to be specialised markets you could head towards.

However, things have changed drastically in India in the last half decade or so. Fast-paced life, hectic schedules and attractively priced deals have pulled people towards online shopping. When the concept was initially introduced in India, the customer base for online shopping activities was the rich class with a lot of purchasing capacity. As the concept evolved further, more and more people came into the fold of online shopping, thus bringing about an enormous change in the online shopping trends.

E-tailers: The Upcoming Trend

As the concept of online shopping gained prominence, more and more retailers went online and opened e-stores to interact with shoppers. Most of the retail brands such as Big Bazaar and Vishal Mart, to name a few, have a good online presence too. However, the market opened up with innovative online shopping initiatives from eBay, Rediff Shopping and www.futurebazaar.com who took e-tailing to the next level. Next in line is the concept of a virtual mall, which is already existent at its preliminary stage in India and is gradually growing exponentially.

The growth in the e-tailing market is driven by the need to save time by urban India. Besides with over 2.5 billion internet users, access to the internet has also played an important role in spreading the reach of the markets. Changing demographics (youthful India), evolving lifestyles and exposure to the developed markets have definitely given a fillip to this industry. The soaring real estate costs in India have also inspired many an online venture.

 

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