eBay India Census 2011 Reveals Social Commerce and Cross-border Trends

eBay Inc. Staff

Purchases from rural buyers and cross-border trade are on the rise.

Quick, which product line is exported more than any other from Delhi via eBay India? You may be surprised to hear that the answer is belly dancing gear, followed by natural emeralds. Meanwhile, the number one imported product category is sunglasses. These interesting factoids, and many new social commerce and cross-border trade trends, are revealed in the new eBay India Census 2011.

Did you know that Americans are the world’s biggest buyers of anti-aging products from eBay India, or that the items they buy most often are solitaire pendants? Consider the fact that women around the world get their bikinis from India’s Uttar Pradesh region, and that the top domestic product line sold in Hyderabad is hair trimmers.

The eBay India Census 2011 is the fourth annual census study of its kind. It provides not only an intriguing look into online buying and selling behavior in India, but trends from global eBay buyers purchasing from Indian entrepreneurs.

The study is based on an analysis of all online buying and selling transactions by Indians on eBay India between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011. Results came from 3,311 cities, towns and villages that buy or sell, and the cities are spread out across 28 states and seven Union Territories. The report was unveiled in 11 cities across the country, through simultaneous press conferences.

“The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, a peak industry body, loved the report and released key trends from it at its recent ecommerce forum,” said Deepa Thomas, Head of Corporate Communications, Partnerships and Pop Culture for eBay India.

Delhi retains its position as India’s primary ecommerce hub, closely followed by Mumbai, Bengaluru, Jaipur and Chennai. At the same time, consumers and entrepreneurs from rural India are increasingly embracing ecommerce, now accounting for one in every 10 purchases and one in every 20 sales.

And Indian online shoppers are brand-savvy. The eBay Census shows Sony to be the largest (most bought and sold) brand on eBay followed by Nokia, Samsung, Apple and Reebok. Electronic gadgets continue to rule shoppers’ wallets, contributing to 50 percent of all purchases, said Muralikrishnan B, Country Manager for eBay India.

Meanwhile, Indian women are increasingly addicted to shopping online, buying cosmetics, jewelry, watches, fashion and fitness equipment. Over 45 percent of their eBay India purchases are in the lifestyle category.

The U.S. is India’s top retail exports trade destination, followed by the U.K. and Australia.

The information revealed in the census goes beyond just “fun facts,” Thomas said. The eBay India Census also plays an important role in evangelizing ecommerce for those who may be still concerned or have misgivings about online shopping, she noted.

“On the corporate front it plays a thought leadership role, and for consumers it provides an opportunity to check out what else they could be buying online and insights into significant national trends,” she explained. “Then there are the useful facts: the rankings, the most popular brands, information about the cities and what people in them are buying and selling.”

The two especially noteworthy trends are the growing importance of the role of rural India to eBay businesses, and the increasing strength of women shoppers and their involvement in lifestyle categories, Thomas said.

You can find out much more in the complete census results.