Vocal for local: Here is how many Indians care about ‘country of origin’ while buying online

By Ramarko Sengupta|29th Jun 2020
The Modi government has asked all ecommerce companies to ensure that the ‘country of origin’ of all products is clearly listed on their platforms.
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Most Indians buying online are more interested in price, delivery date, ratings, and reviews, than the ‘country of origin’ information about the products they are looking to purchase, according to a survey asking consumers “what all information do they generally look at when buying a product from an ecommerce platform”.


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An overwhelming 83 percent of those who participated in the survey said they look for ratings and reviews when buying online through ecommerce platforms, while 82 percent said they look for price and delivery date. Only 37 percent said they look for the ‘country of origin’.


The survey, conducted by social media firm LocalCircles, comes in the backdrop of a recent communication from the Ministry of Commerce that asked all ecommerce companies operating in India to ensure the ‘country of origin’ of all products is clearly listed on their platforms.


According to a Bloomberg report, ecommerce giants, Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart, have agreed to “compel merchants to start prominently displaying ‘country of origin’ for all goods sold online in India”.


The ministry’s regulatory demand comes on the back of the India-China standoff earlier this month, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead and around 76 injured, leading to a ‘boycott Chinese goods’ clamour. China is often referred to as the ‘world’s factory’.


On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme, once again reiterated that citizens must lend their support in making India self-reliant or atmanirbhar and become ‘vocal for local’ in a bid to support the country.


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The social media firm’s survey, which received over 16,300 responses from across 239 districts of India, also revealed that the MRP (maximum retail price) and discount information is sought by 82 percent consumers, while 62 percent ecommerce consumers seek ‘best before’ date on human consumption products.


“Price and delivery date was of prime importance to all ecommerce customers,” LocalCirlces said.


The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), which is under the Ministry of Commerce, on Wednesday reportedly held a video conference with ecommerce companies -- Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Paytm Mall -- to discuss displaying the ‘country of origin’ of the products on their platforms.


LocalCircles Chairman and CEO, Sachin Taparia, highlighted that, “The term ‘country of origin’ is open to interpretation as a product could have the 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 product images.”


Earlier, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had urged Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal, to make it mandatory for every ecommerce portal to mention 'country of origin' on every product sold on their platforms, “so that buyers can make an informed decision”.


Last week, the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) platform, a special purpose vehicle used by government departments for public procurement, made it mandatory for sellers to enter the ‘country of origin’ while registering all new products on the portal.


Edited by Megha Reddy

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