Smaller towns and rural areas driving e-commerce in India, reveals eBay census

eBay, one of the leading e-commerce marketplace in the country, today unveiled the eBay census that provides insights into the online buying and selling behaviour of the consumers based on the transactions. The fifth eBay census takes into account the online transactions on the site from July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012. 


One of the key trends observed this year is what is being termed as "massification" of e-commerce as online shopping is now truly mainstream and nationwide phenomenon. India registered a healthy 30 percent rise over last year’s census when it came to number of cities and towns engaging in e-commerce. Out of the 4,306 e-commerce hubs, 3,281 are the so called Bharat hubs (smaller towns) and 1,015 rural hubs, while the rest were the metros. 


Maharashtra emerged the leader when it came to states, while it was Delhi that took the crown as the number one e-commerce hub in the country. Mumbai came in second, followed by Jaipur, Bengaluru and Chennai. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh topped the list as the state with the most number of e-commerce hubs, closely followed by Tamil Nadu. In terms of rural hubs, Guntur (Andhra Pradesh), Choryasi (Gujarat), Kartikapall (Kerala), Villupuram (Tamil Nadu) and Dindori (Maharashtra), emerged as the top five e-commerce hubs in the country.

Abhimanyu Lal, Head- Category Management, eBay India, sharing key findings of the eBay India Census 2012

Abhimanyu Lal, Head-Category Management, eBay India, sharing key findings 



Electronics continue to be the number one category driving transactions and contributes to 48 percent of domestic transactions, but what’s also increasingly gaining traction is the lifestyle category at 41 percent. Under electronics, it’s the smartphones, mobile accessories, tablets and laptop accessories that drive sales when it comes to trading within the country. And people seem to be importing smartphones and mobile phone cases as well. When it comes to the exports – natural diamonds, fashion necklaces, herbal remedies, sarees and gardening supplies ruled the roost. While the rural areas exported lifestyle products, what they shopped for was electronics, especially smartphones, Bluetooth, tablets and interestingly, they imported solar energy panels. Coming to the brands, it was Samsung that emerged as the clear leader followed by Apple, while Sony and Nokia, which were leaders last census, took up third and fourth position respectively. 


The census also revealed a growth in m-commerce; out of the $67 billion online transactions in 2012 world over, mobile transactions constituted for nearly $13 billion. While the figures have been encouraging and they believe m-commerce will rise in the coming years, Abhimanyu Lal, Head – Category Management, eBay India, says that their focus currently isn’t on mobile transactions. He says, “eBay has been present on the mobile platform from 2010, in the form of both mobile site as well as apps. But we are focusing on getting our offering out there and not the transactions. Way we look at it today is in terms of traffic, what we find is that people are using it to basically check prices. We are not trying to drive transactions on the mobile platform, in fact in some of our apps we haven’t enabled the buy option, and it’s designed as a price check option.”


He states further, “It’s really about behaviour change, how do you encourage people to use these things. It’s simplistic to say that if I have the app then I will get the business, but really what we are talking about is changing people’s ways. What this is helping us do is that it is helping us understand that behaviour and how the ecosystem is working like what are the things they look for using this platform, when does the traffic come, etc. So we are in the process of understanding the behaviour at the moment. But yes, m-commerce is bound to grow.” 


More detailed eBay Census can be accessed from here

Published Date: Mar 20, 2013 06:28 pm | Updated Date: Mar 20, 2013 06:28 pm