Consumers get essentials from local retailers; availability via ecomm dips


The consumers have reported an improvement in the availability of essentials via retail stores, while the availability through e-commerce platforms has dropped again. Only 52 per cent of those who ordered essentials through e-commerce platforms found most or all items, according to the latest survey by community platform LocalCircles, which received over 16,000 responses from consumers located in more than 182 districts of India. About 80 per cent of those, who ordered essentials through local retail stores, got most or all items.

With the commencement of lockdown 4.0, a plethora of relaxations has been announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). LocalCircles, in association with the Department of Consumer Affairs, has been regularly tracking the availability of essential goods in local retail stores, as well as via e-commerce platforms. Earlier, the essential goods survey for April 19-20 had indicated that 42 per cent of those, who ordered essential goods using an e-commerce app, could not get them and 33 per cent of those who went to local retail stores could not get most of the essential goods they wanted.

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LocalCircles conducted the 10th consumer survey between May 17-18. The consumers were asked about their experience when they placed an order for essential goods such as wheat, rice, pulses, salt and sugar on an e-commerce app in the last 48 hours. On the e-commerce platform front, the availability of essential goods has shown some decline in the past few days. On April 19-20, 58 per cent of the consumers were reportedly able to find the majority of the essential goods using e-commerce apps. This number has dropped to 52 per cent as on 17-18 May. Before the lockdown began, this number stood at 65 per cent.

On the local retail stores front, the availability of essential goods has marginally improved in the last two days. On April 19-20, 67 per cent of the consumers were reportedly able to find essential goods at local retail stores. This number stands at 80 per cent as on 17-18 May. Prior to the Junta Curfew, the number stood at 83 per cent.

LocalCircles said the Covid-19 lockdown had changed consumer habits and many people were now using a combination of e-commerce platforms and local retailers and delivery services to get what they needed to run their households.

Many e-commerce firms are already collaborating with retail chain stores to deliver products to the customers.E-commerce giant Flipkart on Tuesday said that it had partnered with retail chain store Vishal Mega Mart for home delivery of essentials through a safe supply chain in 26 cities. Under this partnership, consumers across 365 Vishal Mega Mart stores will be able to order products and get them delivered at their doorstep by Flipkart in a fast and convenient manner.

“Our ability to work with the modern retail stores across cities will give consumers access to relevant products while enabling doorstep delivery of groceries and essentials,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart Group.”Backed by our robust technology platform, this will help consumers to have the real-time visibility of essentials available in their area and while also helping with timely doorstep deliveries.”

The products will be available in line with government guidelines across all zones. Once a consumer places an order through the Flipkart app, the delivery executives or Wishmasters will collect the products from the nearest Vishal store and deliver it at the customer’s doorstep safely. This will help consumers stay indoors and maintain social distancing in the backdrop of the ongoing battle against Covid-19 in the country.

“In these difficult times, we are ensuring that we reach our customers with essentials through all possible channels,” said Gunender Kapur, CEO and MD at Vishal Mega Mart.

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