Sarah Pekala

Today on the Jana blog, we are continuing our series on how smartphone users make purchases in Shopping apps. Read part one here.

Indian Man


As India prepares for Diwali on November 11th, eCommerce giants like Flipkart and Snapdeal are spending big marketing dollars to draw in eCommerce spenders. But eCommerce sales don’t spike just around the holiday season.


Over the next few years, eCommerce sales in India are expected to soar. In 2014, eCommerce sales amounted to 5 billion U.S. dollars, and are projected to grow upward of 17 billion by 2018. More and more of these online sales are being made on mobile devices. In 2014, 41% of all Indians who purchased items online used a mobile phone to do so, higher than in any other country in the world.

India adopts mobile eCommerce

When compared to Brazil, eCommerce apps are much more popular in India. The top installed Shopping app in India, Flipkart, has twice the penetration rate of the top installed Shopping app in Brazil, OLX Brasil. Indian smartphone users not only installing these apps, but they are also using these apps much more frequently. 31x more users in India use Shopping apps daily than in Brazil.

More payment options, more usage

Payment Methods in India Information


While the popularity of Shopping apps exceeds that in Brazil, Indian smartphone users’ preferences around payment methods mirrors those of Brazilian users. When we looked at the top used Shopping apps in India, as measured by average daily active users, we found that the more payment methods an app provides, the more usage it has. The top five used apps all offer more than one method of payment:

  1. Flipkart: Users pays in-app with credit card, EMI (Equated Monthly Installment), bank transfer, PayZippy—Flipkart’s digital wallet—or with cash on delivery.

  2. Paytm: Users pays in-app for recharge and eCommerce items with credit card or Paytm Wallet—Paytm’s digital wallet.

  3. Snapdeal: Users pay in-app with credit card, bank transfers, EMI, Snapdeal cash, or with cash on delivery.

  4. Amazon India: Users pay in-app with credit card, bank transfers, EMI, or with cash on delivery.

  5. Quikr: A user pays seller in person or with bank transfer.

Based on the top five apps, we found three trends of the Indian eCommerce market:


Top Three Trends of India's eCommerce Market Infographic

1. Cash is still king for eCommerce transacting

In India, cash as payment is ubiquitous, and this trend shows in the apps that users are choosing. The three Shopping apps that offer cash on delivery as a payment method—Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Amazon—have 1.4x more daily active users combined than the apps that don’t offer cash on delivery—Paytm and Quikr. While there are 900 million mobile phones and 700 million bank accounts in the country, there are only 20 million credit cards. With the credit card penetration rate at only 1.7%, cash is still the payment method of choice for Indians, whether they’re online or not.

2. Two apps in one: apps that combine retail services gain popularity

One of the most popular Shopping apps in India is Paytm. This recharge and shopping app lets a user purchase recharge for their mobile phone, as well as other items such as furniture, clothing, and electronics. The app has almost as many daily active users as number one Flipkart, but has 2x more DAU than number three Snapdeal. One reason for its popularity may be its two-apps-in-one nature; it’s a traditional eCommerce app and a mobile recharge app. Since 95% of mobile users in India are on a pay-as-you-go mobile plan, being able to add recharge to their device with a few swipes of a finger is extremely valuable for the user. While Paytm doesn’t offer cash on delivery as a payment method, it does offer Paytm Wallet—a digital wallet that can be used in-app or as a payment method outside the app.

3. Smartphones as wallets: Wallet apps are gaining popularity

The third trend we’re seeing from these top Shopping apps in India is the adoption of wallet apps by users in the country. These wallet apps are tied to a user’s credit/debit card or bank account and allows the user to make purchases electronically much more safely and easily. Number one app Flipkart and number two Paytm both offer their own digital wallets as a payment method in their app—PayZippy and Paytm Wallet. These apps let users pay for items within Flipkart or Paytm, send money to friends, pay for taxi rides, or transfer money to their bank right through the app on their phone. Using these wallets also makes checkout in an app easy. A user simply selects the wallet app as their payment method, skipping the process of entering their bank and billing information into the many fields at checkout.


Another wallet app, Pockets By ICICI Bank, is the top used Finance app when measured by DAU. The app has 2x more DAU than the top banking app in the list, iMobile. While Brazilian smartphone users still don’t quite trust mobile wallet apps, Indian users are quickly embracing it as a viable and secure way to make payments.

Understand your users’ preferences to increase transactions

When it comes to eCommerce, every market is unique. But as more Indian users get online for the first time thanks to the availability of affordable devices, they’re embracing India’s new way of making purchases online. If you’re an app developer in India or are looking to expand your app’s presence in India, consider the types of payment methods your app offers. Does your eCommerce app offer India’s preferred methods of payment?

Interested in learning more?