With the fear of COVID-19, many consumers are limiting their movement now even in Unlock 2.0, choosing to continue the home delivery by local stores and ordering via e-commerce platforms. A survey by LocalCircles has revealed that 21% people are ordering in to minimise exposure to others while 6% are doing it for convenience. 71% said both minimising exposure & convenience were main reasons for them behind this move, according to the survey.
Community and social media platform LocalCircles conducted the survey to understand how consumers have been doing their buying of late and what are the reasons for it.
As per the survey, 21% said they are buying from e-commerce sites, 19% said they are getting home delivery done from retail and local stores, while only 1% said they are buying from the mall. 11% said they are buying from department stores and 47% said they are still buying from local markets.
This would mean that 40% consumers are now getting majority of their essential and non-essential supplies home delivered via e-commerce or local/retail stores.
When asked what are the top issues they have experienced when purchasing essential and non-essential supplies via e-commerce and home deliveries, 20% consumers said price, 10% said product quality, 13% said exchange, returns and refund, 8% said payment Issues (cash, digital, etc), while 32% said long delivery times. 10% also said there were other issues.
This makes it evident that since lockdown, the top issues faced by consumers with e-commerce and home delivery services include long delivery times, higher prices followed by exchange, returns and refunds.
The rise in demand has definitely led to longer delivery times for many platforms and vanishing of many of the so called ‘big discounts’ which the e-commerce site claimed to provide, LocalCircles says. Most major grocery platforms for instance have reduced the discounts offered on even their in-house brands from 25-35% range to 0-15% range, LocalCircles claims. Hence the consumer is clearly paying for the convenience.
Also, exchange and returns, according to consumers, have become difficult due to restrictions placed due to containment zone rules, colony and society rules where one has to go to the gate even if they are trying to get something of nominal value replaced.
Recently, a popular e-commerce platform added 2.5 lakh new customers on the first day of its annual sale proving that people want to avoid going to markets at any cost, LocalCircles says. Similarly, many brick and mortar stores are now taking orders over phone and WhatsApp and delivering within a few hours. 40% consumers are using both these options quite effectively not just in metros but also tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India. If this continues for a few more months, it is likely to become a habit for many consumers where most supplies come home, and they don’t go out to get the supplies. As that happens, malls and traditional retailers that rely for sales primarily on store visits will have to change their models and value proposition to cater to this new model, LocalCircles adds.
The survey received over 25,000 responses from 231 districts of India. 61% respondents were men while 39% respondents were women. 57% respondents were from tier 1, 31% from tier 2, and 12% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.