In India, a lot of online marketplaces like BigBasket, Future Group and Grofers are witnessing an increase in demand, w...
- After the government in states like Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Delhi instructed schools, colleges and malls to remain shut till March 31,
online grocerystores like Grofers, BigBasketand Supr Daily have seen an upsurge in orders for essentials.
- Online grocery delivery majors have seen an increasing demand for products such as sanitisers, masks, atta & dal, fruits, and vegetables.
- Platforms are also advising customers to avoid using cash, which can be a source of transmitting the virus between individuals.
The government in states like Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Delhi have instructed schools, colleges and malls to remain shut till March 31. The government is also advising social distancing, with a lot of organisations asking its employees to work from home. The closure of malls, and with it, a lot of supermarkets, has led to a direct increase in the order of staples online.
Much like the US and UK, that witnessed a huge surge in online orders for essentials, in India too, a lot of online marketplaces like BigBasket, Future Group and Grofers are witnessing an increase in demand, with most people ordering for staples. Supr Daily, that delivers daily essentials like milk, bread, fruits and vegetables, told its customers that it will deliver till 9 a.m. instead of the usual 7 a.m. due to increased demand.
In the past few days, BigBasket has witnessed a 2X increase in its traffic and its revenue. BigBasket said in a statement that they are witnessing a 15-20% increase in the basket value. Increased demand has been for essentials such as staples, atta & dal, fruits, and vegetables. However, it said that it is in control of the supplies, given that a predominant share is from its private label products. The platform is currently not facing any shortage for FMCG branded products except in the case of sanitisers.
In the last 30 days, as per Google Trends, there has been a rise in web search for sanitisers.
A spokesperson from the Future Group that owns Big Bazaar and Easyday reported a similar increase in their online orders. "We have seen an upswing in the demand for daily essentials from our customers in certain geographies. We are making sure that we are managing our stocks and supply chain in a way that meets all our customer needs. We are also following and complying with various government/local body directives related to store operations.”
While there were a lot of instances of hoarding in the US and UK with a lot of essentials being sold out quickly, most of these platforms haven’t witnessed hoarding yet. BigBasket said, “We are not witnessing hoarding behavior thus far. To our customers, our stance will be not to panic and buy more than what they need. We will gear up for the increased demand and availability of products will not be an issue.”
In a note on its website, Grofers asked its consumers to avoid hoarding. “Buy what you need and maybe add some cushioning on top as we will keep working hard to keep items in stock and reasonably priced for all our customers. Excessive buying or multiple orders to bypass inventory limit can lead to order cancellation,” its blog read.
Grofers has disinfected its warehouses and is sanitising on a daily basis to keep the inventory virus free.
Telling us more about the spike in their business and safety precautions, Albinder Dhindsa, Co-Founder & CEO, Grofers, said, “Over the last couple of days, we have seen customers buying items on our platform in large quantities across cities as well as categories. Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Ahmedabad have seen a higher surge with nearly 80% growth followed by Delhi NCR and Hyderabad at a 60% spike in business. We have seen a rise in both the number of orders (45%) as well as order value (18%). Personal hygiene products, followed by floor cleaners have seen a surge in demand along with immunity-boosting products such as chyawanprash and honey. Essential items such as atta, dal and rice are also being bought in large quantities by our customers."
Grofers has suspended travel between locations and offices, so each of its 20+ units across the country can stay isolated and clear of the virus. Its supplies are now passing through separate areas, manned by different personnel than those that work in crowds in store. The crates are also being washed and disinfected after every usage.
However, a lot of delivery partners are hesitant to come to work. With higher demand and lack of resources, there is a delay in delivery. It is currently 3 days in Delhi and less than 2 days in most other cities. In such a scenario, it is advisable to plan your groceries in advance and avoid dealing in cash as it can be a possible source of transmitting the virus.
A spokesperson from Big Basket said that they are working to expedite their product deliveries.
“We will face some constraints for a few more days because it takes time to build capacity in terms of storage, delivery fleet and people. Our teams are working hard to streamline this and we will be back on track very soon.”
Some platforms have been kind enough to provide essentials at a price lower than its usual market rate. For example, Grofers is selling N95 face masks at Rs 90, when the general market prices are in the range of Rs 450-500.