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Sales of Non-Essential Goods Spike on E-commerce Portals as Govt Eases Restrictions

Image for Representation

Image for Representation

While mobile phones remained the most searched item, searches for the mid-premium segment witnessed the biggest surge within the category.

Sitting idle for nearly 45 days, hope rekindled for millions of sellers on Tuesday as people in green and orange zones started ordering non-essential items like stationery, personal grooming products, apparel, footwear and electronics from leading e-commerce platforms. Snapdeal said it received 75 percent orders for non-essential items from several green and orange zones across the country, and shipped key products including steel utensils, and electronics like power banks, smartphones and laptop chargers, among others.

"The overwhelming response by both buyers and sellers on Day 1 of e-commerce deliveries being allowed for non-essentials and essentials is a reflection of the important role e-commerce plays in fulfilling the needs of the country," a company spokesperson said in a statement. The sellers on the platform shipped steel utensils from Salem, footwear from Amritsar and apparel from Gurugram. Snapdeal which has over 5 lakh independent registered sellers expects nearly 90 percent of them in the non-restricted zones to be active on the platform by this week. However, thousands of orders for Jaipur continued to be on hold while deliveries to many parts of Maharashtra were disrupted but these "will commence over the next 2-3 days", said the company.

Flipkart saw an increase in searches for consumer electronic products, including personal grooming equipment (such as trimmers). According to the company, trimmers continue to be one of the top 10 most-searched products, with a 4.5X increase in searches since the beginning of April.

"The increase is seen in categories such as laptops, consumer electronics (such as headphones), mobiles, air conditioners, coolers, T-shirts and other essentials," said Anil Goteti, Senior Vice President at Flipkart. Consumers have been searching for shoes 1.8 times more than sarees, which can be attributed to people's inclination towards leading a fitter lifestyle.

"We are working with lakhs of sellers and MSMEs across India and helping them prepare their businesses and workforce to make products available for consumers in this time of need," Goteti added. While mobiles remained the most searched item, searches for the mid-premium segment witnessed the biggest surge within the category, which consists of a wide product offering.

The Centre last Friday announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown for two more weeks from May 4, with certain relaxations to regions categorised as orange and green zones. An Amazon spokesperson welcomed the government's decision to allow e-commerce in Orange and Green Zones to serve people safely with products that they need and have not been able to access due to the lockdown. "Millions of small and medium businesses and traders will now be able to jumpstart their businesses and livelihoods across their workforce," said the company spokesperson.


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