“In the last couple of days, we have seen what we may call panic buying across a number of cities and categories. Cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Ahmedabad have seen a higher surge with nearly 80 percent growth followed by Delhi NCR and Hyderabad at a 60 percent spike in business for a 75 percent growth in national business,” said Albinder Dhindsa, Co-Founder and CEO, Grofers.
Similarly, BigBasket has witnessed two-fold growth in traffic and revenue.
Staples: Favourite Among Shoppers
E-commerce players are experiencing surge in demand for grocery, daily essential items and personal hygiene products. Consumers are also flocking these websites to buy perishables like milk and eggs along with handwash, sanitisers and soaps.
Grofers has seen a demand surge of 400 percent in sanitizers, 120 percent in hand washes and 70 percent in soaps followed by floor cleaners.
“Immunity boosting items such as honey and ayurvedic products like chyawanprash have seen a growth of 60 per cent. High demand has been observed in disposable categories such as toilet paper and tissues. Lately, we are also observing panic buying and hoarding of essential commodities like atta, sugar, pulses and rice,” stated Dhindsa.
According to a Snapdeal spokesperson, “The early phase of demand surge on Snapdeal was driven by masks and sanitizers, where sales volumes spiked 80-100X over two weeks. The items in high demand right now include home use products like floor cleaners, microfiber dusters, surface cleaning liquids, towel sets etc which point towards an increased emphasis on home hygiene.”
“We are now seeing broader growth across categories as users shift offline purchases online in order to minimise external visits. Unusually strong demand for fashion especially summer products like T-Shirts, shorts, jeans, dresses, sandals etc is one such example. Discretionary purchases for products like LED bulbs, portable fans, hair trimmers, manicure/pedicure sets etc have shown growth up to 50 percent,” he added.
Resolving Supply Chain Issues
Unprecedented demand is having an impact on how these e-commerce players serve their customers.
“We are working extensively with seller partners to ensure product availability, and bringing on additional capacity for delivery, after stocks ran out on some popular items, especially in the household staples category,” Amazon said in a blogpost.
“In particular, you will notice that we are currently out of stock on some popular brands and items, especially in household staples categories. You will also notice that some of our delivery promises are longer than usual. We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders,” the blogpost further read.
Amazon is also working to ensure that no one artificially raises prices on basic need products during this pandemic and have blocked or removed tens of thousands of items, in line with their long-standing policy.
Similarly, BigBasket also faced some disruption in its supply chain, however, the company is taking corrective actions and has geared up for supplies to meet the increased demand.
On delivery delays, BigBasket said, “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.”
Grofers is bumping up capabilities and hiring more people to ensure availability and access of critical goods. Along with this, the company is also working with more manufacturing partners to scale the supply basis demand.
Amazon to Hire 1 lakh Workers
Amazon plans to hire 100,000 new full and part-time staff across the US in its fulfilment centres and delivery network as more and people are relying on online deliveries for their daily needs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The e-commerce behemoth said it is seeing a significant increase in demand, which means its labour needs are “unprecedented for this time of year”.
“We also know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis. We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back,” Dave Clark, Executive, Amazon wrote in a blog post on Monday.
The online retail giant said it will also increase the hourly pay of warehouse and delivery workers in the US, Europe, and Canada.
In the U.S., Amazon will be adding an additional US$ 2 per hour worked through April from its current rate of $15/hour or more, depending on the region, 2 pounds per hour in the UK, and approximately 2 euros per hour in many EU countries.
“This commitment to increased pay through the end of April represents an investment of over US$ 350 million in increased compensation for hourly employees across the U.S., Europe, and Canada,” Clark said, adding that it has taken measures to promote social distancing in the workplace and taken on enhanced and frequent cleaning to keep people healthy.