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Friday, Aug 11, 2006

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Online shopping carts fill up steadily

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Study says more than half of visitors end up buying from a shopping Web site

Online swipe-stakes
93% of online shoppers recommend this mode of shopping
52% believe `consumer reviews' are important
31% find a shopping site through word of mouth
18% depend on word-of-mouth recommendation

Bangalore , Aug. 10

E-commerce has come of age with over half the visitors to online shopping sites using the Internet to buy products and rent services.

According to a study by the Internet & Mobile Association (IAMAI) of India and Cross-Tab Marketing Services, 93 per cent of respondents recommended online shopping. The study involved 1,240 respondents who shop online.

Nearly 52 per cent respondents believed that consumer reviews are important, highlighting the importance of consumer review sites. The study also clearly establishes the dominance of the P2P reference in the online shopping space: 31 per cent respondents found the shopping sites through word of mouth and 18 per cent shopped online through word-of-mouth endorsement.

While 25 per cent of e-shoppers are in the 18-25 age group, 46 per cent fall in the 26-35 age group and 18 per cent are 36-45 years old.

The shoppers are predominantly male, but IAMAI estimates the female audience will constitute a 15-million strong market by 2007-08.

The top reasons why shoppers buy online are the `home delivery' offer, with 70 per cent expressing their approval.

The fact that it is 24x7 was also attractive to 60 per cent of online shoppers, while 39 per cent found the `product comparisons' useful.

Search engines are the most common means of finding online shopping malls, with over 56 per cent respondents tracking down e-shops this way, while only 38 per cent could type the URL directly.

Online advertising was also effective, with 54 per cent surfers responding to it.

Nearly 51 per cent perceive online shopping at their favourite site safe, and 44 per cent choose the site for its better payment options, and 35 per cent for its prompt customer service.

According to the study, 62 per cent of online shoppers believed that a close-up of the product would help while shopping online, and 52 per cent demanded `consumer reviews' while 30 per cent liked the `Catalogue Quick Order' feature and only 23 per cent said they needed a toll-free number.

"Referrals given by online shoppers work because they come from a trusted source since the messenger, the consumer, is more credible and trusted than the advertiser or marketer," said Dr Subho Ray, President, IAMAI, in the release issued by the company.

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