Why India and China are Pushing E-Commerce

The share of e-commerce in total sales is expected to rise to 14.6% by 2020, from 8.7% in 2016, according to a new KPMG’s Global Online Consumer report for 2017.

Consumers in India, China and Singapore say crowd avoidance was the top motivator for shopping online. In fact, in India the government has been making a major push for digital transactions as part of its aim of moving towards a cashless economy.

Asia tops the chart when it comes to online buyers at 22.1 online transactions per year per person, followed by North America (19%), Europe (18.4%) and Australia comes fourth on the global scale with 16.1%.

The top five products purchased online are books, music, electronic devices, computers and women’s’ apparel, according to the report. In India, footwear and telecom products were also amongst the most purchased products online.

“Advances in technology, logistics, payments and trust coupled with increasing internet and mobile access and consumer demand for convenience have created a $1.9 trillion (US) global online shopping arena, where millions of consumers no longer ‘go’ shopping, but literally are shopping at every moment and everywhere,” said the KPMG survey of which 18,430 consumers in 51 countries participated.


Unsurprisingly, the report found that online marketplaces such as Amazon, Alibaba and Taobao dominate the e-commerce space globally. “Their dominance is particularly evident in China and India where over 80% of online purchases were from e-tailers as well as in Japan (69%), Italy (68%) and South Africa (65%). The share for e-tailers in these countries is far above the global average of 50%,” said the report.

Key Drivers

The study found that shoppers in Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, South Africa and France were likely to be influenced by price. More than 38% of consumers in these countries said that promotion and price was the driving factor behind their most recent product purchase.

For consumers in Asia on the other hand, brand was typically more important than price, particularly in China and India.

Online consumer reviews were another important decision driver when it came to product purchase decisions, especially in China, Japan, India and Hong Kong.


Credit card is still the most widely used payment method globally, overtaking PayPal and debit cards, with the exception of India, where consumers prefer to pay cash on delivery (COD) or by debit card, rather than credit.

Social Media

The KPMG report also looked at the correlation with social media and online retail, with channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and Whatsapp being increasingly used for posting and reviewing consumer feedback. In Australia and North America, Facebook was by far the preferred platform for this.

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