COVID-19 puts brake on e-commerce, physical retail sales; April sees massive dip in online shopping

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Published: June 3, 2020 4:20 PM

As the country was under a lockdown for over two months, April witnessed a major dip in the sales of both online shopping at physical retail.

\While March only saw a marginal dip in e-commerce sales by 1% in Delhi and by 2% in Bangalore, the same witnessed massive drop of 89% in Delhi.

As the country was under a lockdown for over two months, April witnessed a major dip in the sales of both online shopping at physical retail. However, sales of certain categories of products such as grocery shot up as most of the citizens remained within the confines of their homes. “There was a noticeable decline in e-commerce and physical shopping across all cities during this time… Functioning of offline retailers, including all malls which continue to remain shut, and online marketplaces were affected during the lockdown period,” a report from CRED said on Wednesday. The government had announced a lockdown on 24th March 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus and days later, it allowed e-commerce companies to deliver essential items only. 

While March only saw a marginal dip in e-commerce sales by 1% in Delhi and by 2% in Bangalore, the same witnessed massive drop of 89% in Delhi, by 92% in Mumbai and by 87% in Bangalore in the following month of April. For physical shopping, Delhi dipped by 43%, Mumbai by 46% and Bangalore by 43% in March and spending on physical shopping dropped in Delhi by 89%, Mumbai by 92% and Bangalore by 87% in April in which the strictest lockdown was imposed. 

As lockdown was announced, people also started panic buying and stockpiling to avoid a stock run out situation. According to CRED’s findings, “Delhi stocked up the most on essentials when the lockdown was announced, by increasing their card spends on groceries, fuel and other utilities”. Those in Mumbai mostly spent on medical and insurance while Bangalore’s residents were least likely to resort to panic buying and hoarding.

March also saw a surge in insurance spends across all three cities. People in Mumbai increased their insurance spends by 23%, followed by Delhi by 11% and Bangalore by only 9%. “Medical spends rose in Mumbai by 100% and Bangalore by 14%. Spends in Delhi remained flat during this time,” the report said. Mumbai and Delhi are still some of the worst hit regions by coronavirus pandemic. 

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