The advent of consumerism in India has led to a rather unsightly side effect: dozens of unused goods like old phones, clothing, utensils, are gathering dust inside homes.
According to a study done by market research firm IMRB and online market place OLX, Indian homes have over $11.7 billion, or ₹78,300 crore worth of goods that haven't been used in over a year. The report, Crust Survey, covered 16 cities across India and surveyed 5,314 households to find out the incidence of "stocking" which it defines as the percentage of households that own at least one item that is in working condition but hasn't been used in a year.
According to the latest survey's findings, 90 per cent of respondents reported stocking, up three per cent from last year when respondents reported stocking goods worth ₹56,200 crore. Stocking incidence is on the rise as people indulge into buying more goods lured by e-commerce sales and offers for product upgrades, but don't get rid of old purchases, said OLX India CEO Amarjit Singh Batra
According to Batra, people are yet to catch on to the trend of selling unused goods of value in a big way.
"The idea of a store-room, so common in India, somewhere implies that we are okay with stocking unused items. Clutter is such an integral part of our existence that we overlook its drawbacks," he said.
There may be cultural nuances at play as well.
"In the past two decades, India has moved from scarcity to abundance, and from using items for a long time to wanting an upgrade after three to six months," said Batra, that for a certain section of the population, shopping has evolved from being a need-based activity to a recreational one.
The latest survey found that on average, every Indian household stocked 12 clothing items, 14 kitchen utensils, 11 books, seven kitchen appliances, two mobile phones and three watches.
Among various cities, respondents from Chandigarh and Kochi showed 98 per cent incidence of stocking, followed by Delhi and Bengaluru at 97 per cent. Bhubaneswar reported the least amount of stocking at 66 per cent, while Chennai and Patna reported 74 per cent.
To be sure, more people reported selling goods this year compared to last year, said the study. However, the rate of selling hasn't matched the rate of buying. Only about half of respondents reported engaging in selling their used goods this year, up marginally from previous year.
Indians households also seem to be breaking from tradition when it comes to festive season shopping – the survey indicated people are increasingly looking for an upgrade, regardless of whether the purchase is new or used.
While the survey did not study gender differences among stocking or selling behaviour, it found that about 60 per cent of furniture sellers were women.
OLX claims it has 80 per cent to 85 per cent of the online used goods market share currently. The survey was part of the company's effort to better understand its target market, said Batra.