Apparel e-com fastest growing category; One in 10 Indians logged online in July: comScore

14 Sep, 2012

Indian digital market has hit critical mass with one in 10 Indians now connected online and the overall internet user base in the country (inclusive of shared devices and mobile) pegged at 124 million in the month of July 2012, according to digital market intelligence and analytics firm comScore. This sets the right tone for the growth of e-commerce ventures in India.

The reach of travel-related e-commerce in India is above the global average and is growing much faster than the international market. But the country is yet to hit the reach of retail e-commerce among online users globally, shows a study jointly released by comScore and industry body Assocham.


One out of five online users in India visits the government-run Indian Railways site IRCTC that retains its position as the top travel e-commerce site in the country with 12 million unique visitors a month. It is followed byMakeMyTrip and Yatra. However, in terms of average transaction size, MakeMyTrip leads (with $204), followed by Yatra ($166) and IRCTC ($17), as per the report presented by Kedar Gavane, director at comScore India.

Among the top 10 travel sites by reach, there is only one airline site at the fourth spot and the rest of the top players happen to be a mix of OTAs, review sites and a bus ticket booking site (see table).

There has been a strong overlap among the OTAs with a lot of consumers trying to compare travel options before the actual purchase. The unduplicated reach among the top three OTAs – MakeMyTrip, Yatra and Cleartrip – is 16.4 per cent of the total internet users. The same trend is seen among travel information sites and travel data aggregators in India.

Visits to a travel-related site have an overall reach of close to 40 per cent worldwide and has grown over 12 per cent YoY, as per comScore. But this has been higher in India with 44 per cent penetration and 41 per cent growth in July over the same month last year.

Retail e-commerce

In the retail e-commerce space, world's largest player Amazon remains at the top although the traffic is split between the parent online retailer Amazon.com, movie information site ImDb and India-focused e-commerce search enabler Junglee.com. Although Indian consumers can buy directly from Amazon.com, they need to pay in US dollar and have to pay shipping charges as well besides import tax as Amazon is not yet allowed to operate an Indian e-commerce site. However, Amazon may only strengthen its lead, having recently launched an e-book site for the Indian consumers (as also its own e-book reader).

Among the local players, Flipkart leads the way with 7.4 million unique visitors a month (growing more than fivefold over the past one year), closely followed by Snapdeal, which had 6.9 million unique visitors. JabongMyntra and HomeShop18 square up the top five local e-commerce sites.

Flipkart also leads in terms of average transaction size with $35 whereas Myntra's and Yebhi's average transaction figures were $24 and $27, respectively.

The study has brought out how apparel, as a category, is clearly on a tear as the fastest-growing retail sub-category. Although it is smaller in reach, compared to the comparison shopping sites (see graph), it grew 362 per cent in the past one year.

The only category to have shown de-growth in India over the last 12 months is flowers/gifts/greetings (decline of around 33 per cent).

Overall penetration of retail e-commerce category has increased to 60 per cent, growing to 37.5 million unique visitors in July and recording an overall growth of 43 per cent YoY, as per comScore. In comparison, globally, retail e-commerce has penetration of close to 72 per cent and has grown over 13 per cent YoY in July.

Payment mode

Among the various payment types ranked by average transaction size, eBay-controlled PayPal led with $178, followed by American Express with $110, Visa ($48) and MasterCard ($47). Average transaction value of cash-on-demand, a popular payment mode for online purchases in India, was pegged at $33. The report added that COD forms close to 7 per cent of the total transactions (including travel-related e-commerce). "COD has a much higher contribution in retail with more and more online retailers using this option to increase trials among customers," the study added.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)