A range of ‘new essentials’ is now becoming an integral part of online buyers’ shopping lists in India. Every third shopper on Snapdeal is buying products relating to safety and immunity. These include masks, sanitizers, traditional immunity boosters like Chyawanprash, vitamins, herbal health supplements etc.
Masks are the single largest purchased item in this category of new essentials, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the order volumes. The sale of masks has more than tripled in the last 30 days as greater awareness, easy availability and reduced prices have prompted more users to buy masks.
The rise in volumes is both on account of new users and also because of existing buyers replenishing their stocks. Packs of 25-masks are the most popular purchase by first-time buyers. Those buying to replenish their stocks at home are preferring to buy bulk packs of 50-100 masks, as the long term need to wear masks becomes more evident.
Users have a strong preference for 3-ply masks that have a middle filter layer of meltblown fabric. With a lot of supply being added in the recent weeks, the price for such masks has dropped nearly 25 percent from Rs 16 per mask to Rs 10-12 per mask. Many sellers have also dropped the price for normal 3-ply masks by about 25 percent to Rs 8, while the price for 2 ply masks has also dropped to Rs 6-7. There is also a growing demand for reusable masks in the price range of Rs 100-150 per mask.
Sanitizers are the other large category, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the volumes. The sale of hand sanitizers has increased by 60 percent in the last 30 days due to improved availability and increased awareness. Bottles of 500 ml and small bottle multi-packs of 50-60 ml score high on buyer preference.
Those buying larger packs prefer the liquid sanitizer, while the smaller bottles are more popular with those looking at gel-based sanitizers. The prices for sanitizers have largely remained steady, dropping by about 5 percent in the past 2 weeks.
Immunity boosters are the third-largest item in the category of new essentials and are rapidly growing in both volume & value. Users are mainly buying Vitamins C, E B6 & Zinc supplements as immunity boosters. Amidst traditional products, Chayanprash is the clear favourite, with sales of the same growing week on week as more users hear of the same through word of mouth and place orders.
Herbal products based on Turmeric, Tulsi, Neem, Fish Oil, Moringa and Amla are also popular for those shopping for health supplements. Herbal teas, Brahmi tablets, Karela & Jamun juices, Clove powder, and Ashwagandha are also popular. Traditional Kadha items like dry ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric are selling higher volumes in the spices category. Steam vaporizers are amongst the highest-selling medical equipment on Snapdeal.
The sale of such products accounts for nearly 7 percent of the ‘new essentials’ category. Disposable gloves, shoe covers and face shields are the other products in this category. The demand for face shields is expected to grow very rapidly when public transport resumes and people travel in shared spaces.
Users are also enquiring for and have started to buy complete PPE kits, including gown, gloves, hood, shoe covers, head cap, mask and disposal bags. These are priced around Rs 500 per kit.
According to Snapdeal, the ‘new essentials’ is the top-selling category on its platform right now and they are part of every third shopper’s list as Indians prepare to return to work amidst safety concerns. About 60 percent of the sales of this category is coming from India’s top 10 cities, while non-metros account for the balance.
“We expect the demand for this category, especially masks & sanitizers to grow further in the next two months. The requirement to compulsorily wear masks in public areas as mandated by various government agencies & within private offices and greater need for sanitizers etc by people returning to work are two strong factors influencing near term demand”, a Snapdeal spokesperson added.