Shifting Consumer Behavior and Trends in Housewares Categories and Ecommerce in India
Santanu Debroy, senior manager, BD and AM, Other Hardlines, Amazon India Marketplace and Sidram Kaudaki, international brand partnerships /business development manager, International Sourcing, Amazon India Marketplace
Speaking from Bangalore, Santaru Debroy and Sidram Kaudaki addressed consumer behavior and trends for home products for online sales in the categories of vacuums and dishwashers, kitchen appliances, DIY home improvement, working from home essentials, health and safety, fitness equipment and bicycle protective gear. Because consumers have spent more time at home in recent months, many of these categories have seen great sales increases.
Background on Internet Penetration and Online Sales in India
Debroy outlined a few key indicators in the growth and acceptance of online sales in India, basing the information on industry research sources such as Forrester Analytics, Bain & Company, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Morgan Stanley and other respected sources. From 2014-2019, comparing countries in Asia, Europe and the U.S., the online retail penetration in India was lower than other major countries but compound annual growth rate for India was greater. The projected ecommerce business in India is expected to jump from US$64 billion in 2020 to US$188 billion in 2025. As of mid-2020, India has 697 million estimated internet users; this is projected to grow to 975 million in 2025. Acceleration of internet use is related to the low cost of data compared to the rest of the world, 1GB of data costs $.0.09 (mid-2020 research) compared to $8.00 in the U.S. and the UK and $10.94 in South Korea.
Debroy quoted Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos precept: “Start with the customer and work backwards” to remind the audience of the company’s approach. Growth is fueled by selection, sellers, traffic and customer experience, driven by lower cost structure and lower prices, all intersecting in a continually fulfilling cycle. Debroy stated that Amazon is India’s most trusted internet brand and reaches nearly 75% of India’s digital population, with more than 200 million unique visitors per month. Hundreds of millions of products are sold by more than 650,000 sellers and distributed from more 60 fulfilment centers and its Merchant Fulfilled Network. He outlined the numerous categories of home goods products and described the local holidays, festivals and seasonal promotions in addition to Amazon’s worldwide Prime Day.
Tips for Working with Amazon
Debroy explained key strategies for building a digital ecosystem:
- Enhanced cataloguing
- Inventory availability in India’s five regions
- Focus on brand positioning and pricing strategy
- Build your brand store on Amazon for free
- Register your brand through Amazon’s brand registry
- Drive traffic through Amazon Marketing Services
Debroy advised on how to build a digital ecosystem outside of Amazon. He explained that their marketing advisors support vendors with many services: assisting with choosing local influencers, pricing, advertising and connecting brands with local sellers. He reminded suppliers that it is critical to work with amazon.in rather than amazon.com.
After the presentation, Debroy and Kaudaki answered questions from the audience on current top-selling categories. India experienced high sales similar to Covid-confined consumer purchasing reported in other countries. Kitchen, dining, décor, lighting, work from home essentials, gardening and cleaning reported steep sales increases. Other questions were asked about third-party sellers, distribution and warehousing issues, seasonal and holiday sales spikes, as well as how to benefit from ratings, reviews, social media and Prime services.
For more information on the Global Forum presenters, contact Lori Szudarek, IHA senior manager, member and international buyer relations, at +1.847.692.016 or email Lszudarek@housewares.org.