E-shopping seems to be the latest fad, especially in smaller towns of Madhya Pradesh. Towns like Khandwa and Chhindwara have beaten Bhopal and Indore in e-shopping this Diwali – a phenomenon that suggests increase in smartphone penetration in the state.
"With android phones making inroads into rural areas, online shopping has increased in smaller towns," said Gaurav Surana, CA and e-business expert. This was confirmed by MP Courier Associates, which held a meeting in the state capital on Sunday.
"Smaller towns provided more business to online companies this Diwali. We were surprised when in our analysis we found that Khandwa beat Indore in online shopping," said Anand Rai of MP Courier Associates. Chhindwara town too emerged as major online buyer. Besides, towns like Gwalior, Jabalpur and Ujjain also came up in a big way.
E-shopping is set to grow by about 80% this year, added Rai. Explaining the trend, online business expert Gaurav said smaller towns do not have major brands in their cities, and this gap is filled by online companies. Moreover, consumers from smaller towns are also deprived of discount offers that their counterparts avail in big cities.
Another important reason, he cited was increased brand awareness and buying power among small town residents.
Affordable smartphones have made inroads into most of the rural areas. “One can see semi-literate people also handling smartphones with ease. Moreover, with Hindi language option it is becoming more popular,” said Sandhya, professor of sociology. People are learning to use more and more apps for their convenience, she added.