Friday, October 7, 2011

India...and the Internet!!

Out of the world's total population of about 7Bn, about 1.2Bn rests in India. And all the reported stats indicate that currently there are 100 Mn internet users in the country & many forecasts estimate that this number would grow up to thrice this number by 2015. I am one of those 100 Mn & I might also come in the top internet users in terms of the usage & kind of usage too may be. Y'day I found a half portion of a medicine strap at my home & just the last letter of the name was left out. I wanted to check if it is the one I was looking for. I searched on Google Images by the name I was checking the medicine to be, the first image got me there! I have my home expense reports as Google spreadsheets - is it too much of Google & not internet? Synonymous may be?

Last month I went to Jamshedpur, the city of Tatas, the pride & respect of the people there for the Tatas can't be more evident. I love the punch-line in the latest TV ad of Tata steel (Values stronger than steel!). We wanted to buy an LCD TV & we thought of gathering information. The first source had to be of course the internet. We searched for televisions, compared among brands, among models, among various technologies that have launched & are launching, and the prices. The best price we got for the model that we liked was Rs. X from the a very advanced (probably the leading) online seller of electronics. Fine, we trust the price, the brand, the quality, the model & so on.

But, we along with our parents wanted to check out the product in its physical look & shape. We went to the most famous dealer in the town there & I should say, I was very much impressed by the sales people there. I don't believe anyone can leave the store without buying a product, if they have gone with a reasonable purchase intention. We decided on the model & now comes the negotiation part as expected. The sales guy gave us a figure & he said, "once you finalize the model, we will reduce the price a bit more but please don't expect a lot", when we told him we really wanted to buy that product. We came back home, we had decided exactly which product to buy & we saw this online selling website again. The price that the sales guy quoted on which a little more discount was certain, was lesser than Rs. X by a significant amount. Now, if our parents buy the product online - they pay more, they have a 'psychological' fear about the safe delivery of the product, given that our confident use of internet overtakes the fear of the website not being authentic. Here in this deal, they went & physically saw the product, they knew this shop for years now, they had bought good number of electronics products from the store etc. We, being in the top bracket of the internet users in the country couldn't explain this ourselves.

This is the dilemna India lives with, when it comes to the internet. And while there is a 'latent' demand existing for just about everything in the country, there are areas where this distinction remains - but market exists for everyone - one should just be smart enough to be able to define the market correctly!

1 comment: know who :-) said...

Nice analysis Sridevi! I feel that online shopping has to go a long way here in India :)