The scope of the Internet is expansive. Most tasks like paying bills, booking tickets, online shopping, etc. can be done in a few clicks. Now, a study by Capgemini has found that Indians spend more on Internet stores than they do in a physical store and this definitely leads us to believe that more and more people are opening up to the idea of shopping online. The report, Digital Shopper Relevancy, gauges how the retail preferences of consumers have been changing as the traditional and digital retail channels around them continue to evolve and innovate.

The report surveyed 16,000 digital shoppers across 16 developing and mature markets. It stated that shoppers today “are not loyal to one channel but expect a seamless integration across online, social media, mobile and physical stores.” 60 percent of those surveyed agreed that they expect a unified shopping experience, which essentially sees all retail channels come together. Having said that, more than half of the shoppers revealed that most retailers at the moment are “not consistent in the way they present themselves across channels.”

Indians spending more online, than in stores (Image credit: Getty Images)

Indians spending more online than in stores (Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the highlights of the report was that websites were considered “most important for digital shoppers across the end-to-end shopping journey” in developing and mature markets. According to the report, 80 percent of those in developing markets found the Internet to be important. The report further revealed that channels like social media, mobile apps and in-store kiosks are getting popular as “alternative retail channels”.

Interestingly, the report found that the number of digital-savvy shoppers was higher in developing markets. It was observed that digital-savvy shoppers in developing markets tend to “leap-frog” the traditional retail infrastructure that mature markets have taken up. To this effect, 72 percent of respondents from India and 69 percent from China stated that they purchase more products in a single transaction online than in a physical store, compared with just 31 percent from the US.

With more than half of the respondents in the survey belonging to both developing and mature markets revealing that they “expect physical stores for increasing numbers of categories will simply become showrooms to select and order products by 2020.” The report states that the current retail landscape will change.

In one of the most intriguing insights into the current retail landscape in the country, the report revealed that 56 percent of those surveyed were likely to spend more money at a physical store if they researched the product they're buying across digital channels before actually making the purchase. 73 percent of the respondents “expect online prices to be lower than those in physical stores”. Among other factors, the study also found that behavioral patterns differed based on several factors like age, gender, product category, journey stage and market maturity. Additionally, the study found that 55 percent of women shoppers were found to be more engaged when using digital channels, as compared to 44 percent of men. The report found that 61 percent of those surveyed wanted online stores to “remember their personal shopper history”, which would help make shopping faster. 41 percent revealed that they want 'to be identified through smartphones when entering a physical store.’

The report threw light on what it refers to as six distinct segments, or faces, of shoppers who use digital channels varyingly through the course of their shopping. These include – Social Digital Shoppers (25 percent of total respondent base), Digital Shopaholics (18 percent of total respondent base), Occasional Online Shoppers (16 percent of total respondent base), Rational Online Shoppers (15 of total respondent base), Value Seekers (13 percent of total respondent base) and Techno-Shy Shoppers (13 percent of total respondent base).

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