VENTURES AFRICA – Online shopping in India in booming, and that trend looks likely to continue to grow upwards over the coming decade. Like China, India seems to have grasped the ability to shop for services and consumer products online with both hands. Mobile internet being hugely responsible for opening up the online world to Indian consumers, again very much like it has in neighbouring China. There are reports suggesting that by the end of 2013 over 300 million Indians will have access to the internet through mobile phone technology and other platforms, about the same amount as the population of the USA to put that into context.
Evidence shows that out of the millions accessing the internet in India, over 8 million regularly shop online. This figure looks set to grow exponentially as well. Google is the internet search engine that is predominately used throughout India, as it is in most countries, with the exception of China who use their own search platform. Here is a breakdown of the four most popular product searches online from 2012 online in India.
- Electronics 28 percent
- Books/educational material 15 percent
- Beauty and personal care products 10 percent
- Home products/furnishings 6 percent
What Does This Mean For Africa?
This is a great opportunity for African entrepreneurs to penetrate a quickly growing consumer market place. Google is the choice of search engine for much of Africa already, so the ability to utilise various SEO and internet marketing strategies like media buying to gain traffic from rankings are already within the arsenal of those operating online in Africa. India is also reliant on Google for the majority of its online search traffic. The opportunity to gain a foothold here is enormous. Obviously social media is a huge tool for those looking to break into any online market, and for those who wish to enjoy a successful online presence in India that is no different. Facebook, Linked In and Twitter are all huge, influential in branding and growing rapidly. Currently there are over 35 million Facebook users in India, placing India third in the world for Facebook users. Around 9 million users for both Twitter and Linked in make them both huge platforms to market on as part of an Indian SEO project, for any business looking to gain positive momentum in India’s online consumer world. India also provides Google its second largest Google + market. This is a growing social platform and should be included as part of any social media marketing campaign for any African businesses wanting to gain a foothold here.
What Are You waiting For Africa?
Evidence suggests that a website in English is the best way to sell online in India, with many websites in a native dialect not proving to convert successfully with consumers, whilst sites that are in English seem to be preferable to the majority of online shoppers. This may change as more people access the internet, but for the moment an English site is definitely preferable. The fact is that an African company could create a site and host it with an Indian hosting company today. As with any site placed on Google, an effective SEO marketing plan could well prove to be successful in launching your business into the Indian economy as quickly as it would do within Africa itself. It is also worth noting that many keywords are not as competitive for Indian searches as they are for their equivalents in Europe and the USA. It seems that there couldn’t be a better time to expand into this behemoth economy, and starting out online, with the same marketing strategies and SEO practices that you would use on your own Google based online market in Africa. I strongly believe that we are moving towards a massive global online market place anyway, and that over the coming years African businesses that move the quickest with that thinking, will be the ones that gain the greatest market shares as their brand footprint will have a massive head start on those who join in later. India, like China and Brazil, and many other up and coming economies with large online shopping market places, offer fantastic opportunities for African businesses to use their SEO and internet marketing expertise to gain a huge head start in growing their businesses there.