With Digital Devices Around, Who Needs Sales Associates in India? - eMarketer

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With Digital Devices Around, Who Needs Sales Associates in India?

Little demand for help from sales associates

September 1, 2015

Digital devices like smartphones often function as personal research assistants, especially when it comes to retail. In urban India, shoppers appear to have quickly embraced the devices, along with other tools like in-store kiosks, and most are not so sure they need sales associates anymore.

Consumers in Urban India Who Prefer to Use Digital Devices* vs. Sales Associates During Select Stages of the In-Store Path to Purchase, Feb 2015 (% of respondents)

According to February 2015 polling by Deloitte, internet users in urban India between ages 18 and 54 favor digital devices heavily over store associates for tasks like comparing pricing, getting product information and checking product availability. Whether those devices were smartphones in their own pockets or internet kiosks provided in-store, more than seven in 10 of these shoppers saw no need to talk to a real human about products on the shelves.

Nearly half of respondents also indicated they used digital devices during the purchase cycle. More than seven in 10 did so before they got their purchase journey under way. These respondents had extreme inclinations toward using digital devices: 97% researched and browsed products, 96% completed purchases and 95% reported finding inspiration online, among other activities.

eMarketer estimates that total retail sales in India will reach $818.30 billion, up 14% over 2014. Double-digit growth will continue through at least 2019, when the retail market in India will reach $1.419 trillion. This year, just 1.3% of the total occures online.

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