37% of the consumers that shop online look for Country of Origin information of the product
- • Price, Delivery Date, Ratings & Reviews most important to ecommerce users
- • More than twice as many consumers prefer that actual image of product packaging is displayed on ecommerce platforms, rather than text-based information
June 29, 2020, New Delhi: The India-China face off has had an impact on various segments of businesses as well. The Ministry of Commerce recently asked all ecommerce platforms operating in the country to ensure that the ‘country of origin’ of all products is clearly listed on their platform so that the consumer can make informed decisions. This directive comes amid a growing clamour for the boycott of Chinese products in India, combined with the Government’s push for Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
LocalCircles had worked closely with Department of Consumer Affairs in 2017-18 on Packaged Commodity Rules (amendment) 2017 and via these rules, ecommerce was included and all Legal Metrology requirements including MRP, Best Before Date, Net Contents, including country of origin were required to be displayed by all ecommerce platforms.
LocalCircles conducted a survey to get a consumer pulse on how important the ‘country of origin’ tag is for them while shopping and what would be the best way for an ecommerce platform to list it. The survey received over 16,300 responses spread across 239 districts of India.
The first question asked consumers what all information do they generally look at when buying a product from an eCommerce platform. In response, just 1% said price and delivery date, 8% said price, MRP, discount and delivery Date, 17% said price, delivery date, ratings & reviews and 8% said they look for price, MRP, discount, delivery date and best before date. 12% said they look for the price, MRP, discount, delivery date, ratings and reviews, 17% said price, MRP, discount, delivery date, ratings & reviews, best before date while 37% said they look for the price, MRP, discount, delivery date, ratings & reviews, best before date and country of origin of the product.
Only 37% of the consumers that shop online look for country of Origin information; Price, Delivery Date, Ratings & Reviews most important to consumers
This means that only 37% of the consumers that shop online look for Country of Origin information before buying the product, and price, delivery date, ratings & reviews are the more important to consumers for their purchases through ecommerce.
What all information do you generally look at when buying a product from an eCommerce platform?
While only 37% consumers said they look for Country of Origin, 83% said they look for Ratings and Reviews information, something that most ecommerce platforms are trying to strengthen currently. MRP and discount information is being sought by 82% consumers while 62% ecommerce consumers seek best before date on human consumption products. Price and Delivery Date was of prime importance to all ecommerce customers.
Through Packaged Commodity Rules 2017, ecommerce platforms were mandated to show an image of the principal display panel or include this information as text, and it was left to them as long as the information is displayed. Through various posts on LocalCircles, consumers have said they feel putting up the picture of the principal display panel would be the best as it will help them find most of the product info at one place. Per media reports, the Government has sought from ecommerce platforms to make the ‘country of origin’ a searchable field.
The next question asked consumers how they would prefer eCommerce platforms presenting product information to them. 17% said they should provide information in text format under product description and specifications, while 46% said the actual image of the product packaging including the principal display panel and MRP tag should be clearly displayed. 37% said either way is fine as long as information is made available.
More than twice as many consumers prefer that actual image of product packaging or principal display panel is made available on eCommerce platforms than text based information
This clearly shows that more than twice as many consumers prefer that actual image of product packaging or principal display panel is made available on ecommerce platforms than text-based information. This is due to the fact that many consumers want to be able to browse and transact fast and hence prefer images as opposed to text as the latter is hard to find.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) recently called e-commerce companies like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm Mall, etc. to discuss displaying the ‘country of origin’ of the products on their platforms. However, the term “country of origin” is open to interpretations as a product could have majority of its components originating in one country while the final assembly could have happened in a different country and most sellers do not have an easy way of knowing that. Therefore, instead of the seller filling up the field manually, it may be easier to have the sellers upload the image of the principal display panel along with products images. This will also ensure parity between physical retail and ecommerce as the consumer will have access to product packaging via both the channels. A notification from the Legal Metrology Division defining the Country of Origin for both retail and ecommerce channels would also help in eliminating any ambiguity that might otherwise exist on the issues. LocalCircles will share its findings with Legal Metrology Division, Department of Consumer Affairs as well as Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade so the above survey findings and inputs can be utilised as the PCR 2017 rules are enforced.
16,300+ responses were received from 239 districts of India. 63% respondents were men while 37% respondents were women. 51% respondents were from tier 1, 32% from tier 2 and 17% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. They survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.