Many consumers ended up paying more for many essentials and grocery products during the lockdown because traders and retailers reduced discounts and some, per consumers, even resorted to charging above MRP.
LocalCircles conducted a survey to get a consumer pulse on their experience of buying essentials during and after the lockdown, with respect to pricing. The survey received over 16,500 votes from consumers located in 210 districts of India.
Many consumers said that during lockdown 1.0 to 4.0, they ended up paying more for many essentials and grocery products as compared to pre-lockdown. This was not due to an increase in prices by the manufacturer, but because traders and retailers reduced discounts and some, per consumers, even resorted to charging above MRP.
Around 72% consumers paid more for packaged food and groceries during lockdown 1.0-4.0. Lower discounts and charging over MRP were the main reasons for this.
Despite lockdown relaxations via Unlock 1.0, 28% consumers are still getting packaged food and groceries delivered at their doorsteps, as per the survey.
Consumers were asked for the purchase of packaged food and grocery items done by them since March 22, what has been their experience with respect to pricing.
At least 25% consumers said for the same items, prices paid were same as before the lockdown, while 49% prices paid were higher as discounts were lower than before the lockdown. 23% said for the same items, prices paid were higher as many times they were charged above MRP. Charging more than MRP, online or at physical retail stores is a violation of the Legal Metrology act.
In an earlier LocalCircles' survey, 39% consumers had said that during the lockdown, they were charged above MRP by retail stores while 21% said they were charged above MRP by online sellers. The survey indicated that consumers found MRP compliance to be better on e-commerce apps, as compared to local retail stores.
Consumers were also asked now that the lockdown has been relaxed, how they and their family are buying most of the packaged food and grocery items. Some 17% said they have been buying via eCommerce /eGrocery apps while 8% said they call or WhatsApp retail stores and get them to deliver at doorstep. 19% said they order via the colony/area neighbourhood store, while 53% said they have been buying from the local retail stores or market.
This means that despite lockdown relaxations, 28% consumers are still getting packaged food and groceries delivered at their doorsteps. The primary reason for this seems to be the effort to keep themselves and their family safe from the coronavirus infection by not stepping out of homes unnecessarily.