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About 60% of spends on etail platforms via digital modes, Retail News, ET Retail


About 60% of customer spends on e-commerce platforms such as Flipkart and Amazon were through digital modes during the festival season this year, in a reversal from the pre-Covid-19 days when Cash on Delivery (COD) used to be the preferred payment method, multiple people with knowledge of the matter told ET.

COD has traditionally constituted as much as 70% of all e-commerce transactions. During the early days of the pandemic, COD transactions fell sharply, as most leading online marketplaces discouraged physical contact on home delivery, although it has picked up since.

Smartphone apps enabled by Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and e-wallets, along with debit and credit cards that offered incentives and EMI options, nudged consumers towards contactless modes at a time when physical cash-based transactions are being discouraged, the executives said.

In volume terms, Amazon customers paid through digital modes for 65% of orders, an industry insider told ET.

“More customers started adopting digital payments in order to shop in the safety of their homes. All modes of payments such as UPI, card payments, EMIs etc saw an increase in transactions,” an Amazon spokesperson said, without going into specifics.

A Flipkart executive said there was a spike in growth of digital payments during its festive season sale event last month, without revealing the actual share of digital modes in overall spending.

“During the six-day sale event (Big Billion Days), we saw an over 55% increase in digital payments transactions on Flipkart, with a sharp increase in the new-to-digital customer base,” said Ranjith Boyanapalli, head – fintech and payments group at Flipkart.

According to Vikas Bansal, director and head- financial services at Amazon Pay India, the adoption of financing options at the grassroots increased 56% from tier III cities since the beginning of the year.

UPI dominated most small-value transactions on the e-commerce channels, but EMI-based credit card transactions for larger electronics items and apparel surged as well, with HDFC Bank and State Bank of India emerging as the leading enablers of such transactions, according to an industry executive.

“October was one of our best months ever in terms of volume. We recorded a growth of 90% on UPI, 38% on credit card, 52% on debit and 14% on EMI-based payments,” said Vishwas Patel, the CEO of CC Avenues – a payment gateway that facilitates e-transactions.

Leading payment companies, too, told ET that their channels clocked record transactions, led by festive season splurging by consumers.

“During the ongoing festive season, we are witnessing an overall increase in digital transactions,” a Paytm spokesperson said. “Overall, the transactions through these funding sources have grown over 20% in October, where over 70% of these transactions are Person-to-Merchant (P2M).”

A PhonePe spokesperson said UPI transactions to e-commerce platforms grew 40% against last year. “We saw 925 million transactions in total, of which 835 million were UPI-based transactions, giving us a market leading share on UPI of over 40%. This was also our highest ever, translating to an annual TPV run rate of $277 billion,” the spokesperson added.

According to a spokesperson for Snapdeal, “More than 85% of our buyers are from non-metro cities, where although the digital payments are slowly getting popular, cash is still the preferred mode of transaction.” However, digital payments on its platform have doubled during the pandemic, the spokesperson added.

Conversion of transactions from cash to digital means has been a long-stated objective of both the e-commerce and banking industry, as paper currency increases logistics and security costs.

In the one-year period since October last year, UPI has grown by over 80% in volume and 110% in value terms to record 2 billion transactions worth Rs 3.86 lakh crore last month, while cash-based withdrawals from ATMs was at just Rs 1.41 lakh crore in October, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India.





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