Indian consumers are more likely to own a mobile phone and use it to access the Internet than own a PC or laptop and use a wired Internet connection. The stats speak for themselves: As of September 2014, India has more than 930 million wireless subscribers against just 27 million wireline subscribers. And while just 8% of these 957 million subscribers have a broadband connection (with download speeds of 512 kbps or better), fully 80% of them are mobile users.
This is leading to the mobile mind shift: the expectation that consumers can get what they want in their immediate context and moments of need. This trend is particularly evident in retail; today’s consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to accomplish a variety of shopping-related tasks online – from researching a product to buying it.
Forrester has developed a global retail segmentation framework to identify, assess, and compare the behaviors of shoppers in various countries. Five segments identify the most prevalent and regular shopper behaviors (see figure below). According to this framework, 6% of metro Indian online users fall into the Mobile Shoppers segment. In comparison, only 4% of online users in the US are Mobile Shoppers! Even the percentage of Super-Shoppers in India is more than twice that in the US.
There are already signs that mCommerce is beginning to grow in India. Between 2012 and 2013, mCommerce transaction volumes more than doubled and their value more than quadrupled. Apart from increasing adoption of smartphones and the mobile Internet, two key trends will drive future growth:
- A vast young population that is open to the idea of mCommerce. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data shows that two-thirds of the online adults aged 18 to 34 in metro India have already used a mobile phone or tablet to purchase a product or service online.
- The push on mobile by eCommerce companies. Leading Indian eCommerce companies like Snapdeal.com claim that 50% of their sales now come from mobile devices, up from only 5% in 2012. Similarly, mobile transactions account for 20% of the sales for Flipkart.com. eCommerce is expected to grow from $16 billion in 2013 to nearly $56 billion by 2023; this explosive growth will also help mCommerce grow.
Indian consumers are increasingly open to the idea of commerce on mobile devices, and this trend will only grow given the country’s mobile-first nature. To take full advantage of the resulting growth in mCommerce, eBusiness and channel strategy professionals need to build both mobile apps and a mobile site. In addition, they need to focus on user experience and context for mobile channels for consistent customer engagement. My recent report on mCommerce provides more insights on the above and additional in-depth recommendations to eBusiness pros creating an mCommerce strategy for India.