7 in 10 Indian online shoppers surveyed believe live commerce will be useful; Want to use it to reach out to someone live for product demo, terms of sale, returns, warranty and pricing
- ● Feedback indicates many Indian consumers prefer ability to interact during their shopping as commonly observed in retail stores and markets
- ● 35% keen to even discuss pricing/discounts with a seller representative if a live commerce capability was introduced
- ● 4% say they are willing to do on the spot purchase for products they need in a live commerce session
- ● Feedback indicates Government of India should make indigenous standards for live commerce
- ● Platforms may consider introducing live commerce for high value products with product or order value above INR 10,000 and over time expand across more products
- ● Live commerce likely has potential to drive the next growth wave for Indian ecommerce platforms
January 11, 2023, New Delhi: Banking on online shopping habits developed by consumers during the pandemic driven lockdowns, many platforms are starting to experiment with live commerce and find new ways to engage consumers. In India, major ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Walmart-owned Flipkart and Myntra have launched live commerce capability where influencers can use the platform to promote products and engage with consumers.
Live commerce or livestream shopping — selling products or services directly on social media — has been extremely popular in China since 2016. The difference between livestream shopping and traditional online shopping is that the former is unedited, with the audience interacting with the host in real time. Unlike traditional online shopping, potential customers who tune in can ask questions or comment, and the host or hosts, generally major influencers, can address them as they model or review a product. These shows are usually streamed on e-commerce apps, social media platforms, and websites. The trend, though relatively new in India, is in line with global majors experimenting with live interactive sessions as an avenue to drive mindshare, build loyalty and deliver experiences for customers that will ultimately drive sales. India's ecommerce market is projected to be $220 billion by 2025, while live commerce could touch upwards of $50 billion in terms of Gross Merchandise Value (GMV), according to EY India.
While platforms in China have used live commerce since 2016, those in India are just getting started. The International Standards Organisation or ISO has proposed a standard on Live Commerce ISO/TC 321 for adoption by countries. The standard which has largely been worked upon by China provides the context that Live Commerce in 2021 was a market worth $172 billion in China alone and projected to grow to $307 billion by 2025. India either can accept the ISO/TC 321 standard and operationalise it or create its own standard based on local market dynamics and consumer preferences and submit the same to ISO for inclusion in the ISO/TC 321 standard.
To understand whether Live Commerce is something that appeals to ecommerce users in India and how they are likely to use the same, LocalCircles conducted a national study which received over 21,000 responses from existing ecommerce shoppers located in 296 districts of India. 63% respondents were men while 37% respondents were women. 46% respondents were from tier 1, 33% from tier 2 and 21% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.
69% ecommerce users surveyed indicate that live seller/product/platform representative interactions when shopping online will be useful
In the first question, the survey asked ecommerce users, “When you are shopping online, will a live seller/product/platform representative available via video interaction help you?”. 10,882 responses were received to this question with 69% indicating keenness for live interaction before buying a product. However, 23% expressed no interest and 8% gave no clear response. The survey question provided that while 7 in 10 are keen to engage in interactive livestreaming shopping experience, 3 in 10 are unwilling.
54% of respondents want live interaction to “answer any questions regarding terms of sale and after sales services; 50% want it to “answer any questions related to a product”
In a follow on to the original question, the same respondents were asked “How all can a live seller/ product/ platform representative interaction help you?” Respondents could select multiple options or use cases to this question and the largest group comprising 54% of respondents indicated “answer any questions regarding terms of sale and after sales, i.e. return, warranty, etc.; the next largest group of 50% indicated “answer any questions related to a product”; 38% want the companies to “hold education/ usability/ information / demo sessions related to the product”; 35% want to have these interactions with sellers to “discuss pricing and if any better discounts/ offers are available”; 15% feel the live interaction “can be helpful in some other areas”. On the other hand, 23% of respondents indicated that a “live seller/ product / platform representative is not needed” and 8% gave no clear response. As the poll findings show, most ecommerce shoppers want live ecommerce to provide an avenue for them to ask questions related to the product usage, terms of sale, returns, warranty, etc. and in some cases even negotiate pricing or discounts.
61% of ecommerce users surveyed keen to attend demo sessions of products they need and 4% out of them say they are likely to even buy on the spot
Keeping in view the global trend of scheduled live commerce interactions, the next question in the survey asked ecommerce shoppers “How likely are you to attend product demos via scheduled live commerce interactions or buy the products on-spot in these sessions”. 10,984 responses were received to this query with 61% indicating interest in attending such sessions provided the product is of their liking. The data shows that 57% said “will likely attend the session if I am interested in the product but not buy on the spot” and 4% stated “will likely attend if I am interested in the product and buy it on the spot too”. 35% respondents in the poll made it clear that they “will not attend such live commerce sessions even if interested in a product and will instead look up/ buy at their convenience”; and 4% gave no clear response.
In summary, it is safe to say there is ample interest with 6 in 10 online shoppers willing to attend live commerce or livestream shopping interactions for the product they are looking for. Given the fan following of some of the celebrities and influencers– big and small in different fields – this channel is bound to grow. marketing avenue is set to grow. However, the definition of live commerce is likely to be redefined as India adopts it with live commerce also being an avenue for online shoppers to seek information at their convenience from a seller, product or platform representative in a live session. Instead of just a push-based system like it is in China, the Indian online shopper wants both a push and a pull-based interaction capability where the consumer initiates the live session and is attended to by those selling. With the pull based live commerce model, the percentage of online shoppers interested goes up to 7 in 10 which indicates that live commerce could drive the next wave of growth in ecommerce. While platforms may not be able to cater to pull based live interactions for all products, consumer feedback indicates that a value or order threshold could be defined (some suggesting INR 10,000) where a live interaction can be sought. What is very evident post this survey is that India should not just adopt live commerce standards proposed by ISO or China but instead create its own.
LocalCircles will escalate the findings of this survey with Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Indian Standards, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and other relevant Government bodies so indigenous standards can be formed for Live Commerce in India.
The survey received over 21,000 responses from online shoppers located in 296 districts of India. 63% respondents were men while 37% respondents were women. 46% respondents were from tier 1, 33% from tier 2 and 21% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.