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Online retailers have had a windfall since the Covid-19 pandemic began in the country. While earlier, people were hesitant to buy big-ticket goods online, nowadays, home appliances, laptops, furniture are seeing whopping sales on all major e-commerce platforms.

An online survey, conducted by Smart Home Guide, has found that more than 50 per cent of the respondents have made their home appliance purchase from an online platform instead of a physical store. In fact, leading e-commerce portals reported a 200 per cent increase in the demand for kitchen and home appliances.

This has brought about a huge change in the way people consume information too.

Earlier, people used to make a purchase decision in one or two visits to shopping mall, however, now, consumers take much longer and indulge in deeper research before making a purchase.

According to the survey by Smart Home Guide, 49 per cent respondents said that they take around one week to make a purchase decision. While the younger generation is quicker to buy, the majority of those older than 45 years took as long as two to three weeks to conclude their purchase.

Brand websites, YouTube videos and reviews on e-commerce platforms have replaced the salesman’s wisdom, with 67 per cent respondents noting that they depend on one of these three sources of information. Among these, YouTube was the go-to source of information for 22 per cent of respondents. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as YouTube recorded a 13 per cent increase in viewership in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the previous year.

Millennials prioritise value for money

Furthermore, millennials’ buying habit of prioritising value for money can be observed from the fact that 38 per cent respondents ranked brand credibility and 33 per cent ranked price as the most important factor affecting their purchase decision.

However, it was also seen that they don’t mind splurging on newer features as a majority of those aged less than 35 bought a new appliance to upgrade old ones. Conversely, the majority of those aged above 35 bought a new home appliance because the old one broke down.

Even though the real estate market has seen a fall in sales, moving to a new home was a motivation to buy a new appliance for about 18 per cent respondents. This was especially true for large appliances and electronic items such as refrigerators, TV and washing machines.

With the second wave of Covid-19, consumers aren’t likely to return to physical stores anytime soon.

Surveys have earlier noted that consumer safety is one of the key reasons why consumers are depending on e-commerce portals. Whether Covid-19 will change the buying habits of Indian consumers forever is yet to be seen.

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