Mumbai: The online retail industry in India is likely to be worth Rs 7,000-crore by 2015 due to easy availability of broadband services and increasing internet penetration, according to industry body ASSOCHAM.

India is set to become the third largest nation of internet users in the next two years with a large chunk of youngsters eager to adopt new technologies with rapidly changing lifestyles, it says.

"A booming economy and rising disposable incomes have contributed to the evolution of online shopping," said Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) Secretary General, D S Rawat.

The buying-selling trends from leading online shopping portals indicated that online retail market currently stands at Rs 2,000 crore and is growing at a steady annual rate of 35 percent.

The survey conducted by ASSOCHAM between January to June across ten cities, in which 5,000 shoppers were interviewed, revealed that most online shoppers used internet to evaluate options by gathering information on available products and prices or buy low-value items like gift products, but opted for final transactions at the traditional retail outlets.

"But now the trend is changing fast. Leading companies have gauged the potential of online retail industry and are gearing up fast to cash in," said Rawat.

About 40 percent of respondents said they preferred to shop online for convenience it offered and also to collect detailed product information. "Majority of consumers also said they shop online to purchase products that cannot be found in malls and the local markets," the survey notes.

Twenty percent of those interviewed preferred to shop at local traditional markets because of the familiarity, easy access, variety of goods, and relationship with shopkeepers.

Around 65 percent of people in Mumbai said they opted for online shopping due to rising fuel prices.

The survey showed that 20 percent preferred shopping in a mall, while 10 percent said the local traditional markets catered to their needs.

In Ahmedabad, 55 percent of the respondents said they prefer shopping online, followed by Delhi (45 percent).

"Facilities such as free shipping, product ratings/reviews, multiple payment options, product demonstration videos and free return policy, influence the purchasing decision of consumers shopping online," the survey added.

The survey also found that 30 percent of the respondents conducted online research on the products and services before buying them from a store, while 25 percent of respondents did not want to share financial information online and hence did not shop online.

The survey also revealed that 15 percent lacked faith in delivery of the goods, while 10 percent said they could not shop online as they did not have a debit/credit card.

(Agencies)