More Indians go online to check off grocery list

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More Indians go online to check off grocery list

Online shopping has reportedly become the fastest growing retail segment in India, the United States Department of Agriculture reported.Foods

As consumers let go of biases against automated transactions, many more of India's 120 million active internet users are venturing online to supply their kitchen pantries.

According to the Internet and Mobile Association (IAMI) of India, 80 million Indians in urban areas and 31 million in rural areas were considered active internet users as of June 2012. In the same year, IAMI found 25% growth in e-retailing.

Convenience, price and selection are pushing the category, alongside perks from retailers such as free home delivery, discounts and flexible payment options.

Several online grocery options have popped up, with a major focus on domestic products. An exception, however, is T.F. Foods, a retailer that sources exclusively imported products in partnership with ebay. In the produce category, Mumbai's focuses on both domestic and imported fruits and vegetables, with the possibility of free shipping.

Nature's Basket, a gourmet food retailer, is the only reported online grocery store with a physical brick-and-mortar establishment. The store has a presence in several major Indian cities.

Traditional kirana stores (independent small grocers) create a hurtle in terms of competition and often provide home delivery and customer credit. Online retailers may face longer delivery times due to traffic and poor road conditions.

Many online retailers limit delivery to major cities but, according to USDA analysis, the category holds the possibility to bring a wider variety of goods to more rural consumers.

Photo: Agricultural Research Service, USDA

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