Small town India big on WhatsApp e-commerce: Consumer Survey

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Bikayi, a homegrown WhatsApp integrated e-commerce startup, released a report on how India shopped during the pandemic. The report revealed that in the period July – October 2020, 53% of sales on the platform have come from Tier II and Tier III towns like Guwahati, Surat, Bahriach, Dhenkanal indicating a preference for buying products over WhatsApp from local merchants in small-town India. The report also revealed that electronics (27% of total sales) followed by grocery (25% of sales) and food (12% of sales) were the top bought categories.
The survey of 20.92 lakh customers revealed that while Kasaragod in Kerala was busy buying most electronics – top products being wireless Bluetooth earphones, Thane West was hoarding groceries – lemon and potato and Bhubaneswar was lapping up delicacies like Chicken Tikka and Mutton/Chicken Biryani. Interestingly, the sales increased 2.5 times in October 2020 as compared to July 2020.
Sonakshi Nathani, Co-Founder & CEO, Bikayi, said, “The pandemic has pushed the majority of local merchants and retailers to look at digital businesses. The trend has caught on more in smaller cities where transactions happen over WhatsApp. It is exciting to see how both merchants and consumers are choosing the platform, which is convenient and a part of our daily lives, to run a sustainable business and shop online respectively. In just the last 4 months, we have witnessed 53% sales from small-town India and believe that this number is only going to increase in the coming months.”
Most sales (45%) happened during the time-period 10 am-12 Noon. The report also revealed that men shopped 3.4 times more than females during the pandemic (77.6% Male as compared to 22.39% Female). The age-group that was most active was 25-34 which contributed 30.68% to the overall sales.
Bikayi, which released the report in December 2020, has raised $2 million as a part of its seed round of funding, from a clutch of international investors including early-stage fund, Mantis Ventures, Y Combinator, Pioneer Fund, amongst other notable angels. The company already has 2.8 lakh+ merchants on board already doing daily transactions worth more than Rs 2 crore on the platform.
It is currently being used by grocery stores, wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers from more than 3000 towns across India. The revenue has grown exponentially – from around 25 percent month-on-month growth, the startup has been clocking around 100 percent  (till October 2020) month-on-month revenue growth since July 2020.

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