Lockdown curbs ease, but only 4% will likely go to malls

Lockdown curbs ease, but only 4% will likely go to malls

More than three-fourth or 78 per cent consumers in a survey conducted among a little over thousand people in more than 200 districts want the government to permit e-commerce platforms to deliver all goods beyond essential items.

As per a survey by Local Circles , consumers want e-commerce to deliver non-essentials in red zones too or at least expand the lockdown essentials list so they can get items of urgent need.

Post lockdown relaxation, consumers say they will prefer buying items of need via local stores (instore or delivery) and e-commerce sites while only 4 per cent say will go to the mall to buy.

Feedback indicates consumers will soon be shopping for secondary essentials, including items like books, stationery, tablets/laptops for online classes and Work From Home (WFH), printers, phone accessories, batteries, coolers, air conditioners, etc.

People have been expressing concerns about their inability to purchase items beyond the essentials which some call the secondary essentials during lockdown, things like stationery, printer cartridges, batteries, books, basic tablets for children to participate in online classes.

Local Circles conducted the survey to get a consumer pulse on how they would shop after the lockdown is relaxed by the government. The survey received more than 16,000 votes from 12,343 unique consumers located in 210 districts across India.

In the first question, people were asked if the lockdown is relaxed in May, how would they go about purchasing items that they need beyond the essentials list. A total of 26 per cent said they will buy it from e-commerce sites, 41 per cent said they will go to the local retail stores/markets and buy, 24 per cent said they will try to get it delivered from local retail stores, while 4 per cent said they will go to the mall and buy what they need.

As per the survey, it is pretty clear that consumers will not go to the crowded malls to shop for some time even after the lockdown is relaxed and local retail stores and e-commerce platforms would be their first choice to buy non-essential as well as essential items.

A new model where they call or WhatsApp a local retailer or service provider who then delivers goods at the doorstep has quickly emerged as a new model during this lockdown period of the last 40 days.

In the second question, people were asked if the government should permit e-commerce platforms to sell and deliver all goods that they sell as opposed to just essential supplies, once lockdown 2.0 is over. A total of 78 per cent voted in its favour while only 18 per cent voted against it and 4 per cent did not have an opinion.

In an earlier poll conducted in mid-April, 68 per cent parents said their children need textbooks for online school classes to be effective while 24 per cent parents said they did not have a screen (desktop/laptop/tablet) for child to access online classes. 43 per cent households had said they needed office/school supplies while 33 per cent had said they need a gadget urgently. None of these demands could be met as e-commerce was only delivering essentials.

While e-commerce has been permitted by the Government to deliver all goods in green and orange zones, the same should also be implemented in the red zones, as per consumers. This will ensure that goods move to people as opposed to people moving to goods and minimise the number of people on roads.

As per consumers, in addition to Government permitting e-commerce platforms to deliver essentials, local retailers and traders must also be permitted to take orders on phone/WhatsApp and deliver them. Consumers have also expressed that if the Government feels that this cannot be done, at a bare minimum the secondary essentials should be added to the lockdown essentials list so they are able to procure items of need from both e-commerce and local retail.

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