COVID-19 Lockdown Impact

After showing some improvement for a week, the availability of essential goods starts dipping again both offline and online


  • • Percentage of consumers unable to find essentials via ‘local retail stores’ increases to 35%
  • • Percentage of consumers unable to find essentials via ‘eCommerce’ apps increases to 50%
  • • Different lockdown extensions by different states could add uncertainty and worsen the situation

April 11, 2020, New Delhi: The 21-day lockdown is nearing its end. During the Coronavirus outbreak, LocalCircles has been regularly tracking the availability of essential goods in retail stores, as well as on ecommerce platforms. The 7th survey on this was conducted between April 9-10 and shows that after showing steady improvement over the last 10 days, the availability of essential goods at retail stores and via ecommerce platforms has started to take a hit.

The availability of essential goods has been a big concern raised on LocalCircles by consumers from across the country over the past 21 days. LocalCircles, in collaboration with Department of Consumer Affairs has been regularly tracking the on-ground changes that have taken place in the availability/non-availability of essential goods in retail stores, as well as on ecommerce platforms, and the same is being escalated to key stakeholders in Central Government and State Governments.

The essential goods survey for April 5-6 indicated that 47% of those who ordered essential goods via an ecommerce app could not get majority of them and 35% of those who went to local retail stores could not get most of the essential goods they wanted. To continue tracking the situation, LocalCircles conducted the 7th consumer survey between April 9-10, which received 16,000+ responses from consumers located in 181 districts of India.

Availability of Essential Goods via eCommerce app during COVID-19 Outbreak: 50% consumers were able to find most essential goods via eCommerce apps in the last 48 hours

Availability of Essential Goods via eCommerce app during COVID-19 Outbreak: 50% consumers were able to find most essential goods via eCommerce apps in the last 48 hours

The first question asked consumers when they placed an order for essential goods (wheat, rice, pulses, salt, sugar, etc) from an eCommerce app during the last 48 hours, how was their experience. 39% said they were able to get most items while 8% said they were able to get only some items as online stores were stocked out for others. 25% said they were not able to get most items while 17% said they were not able to get anything. Only 11% said they were able to get everything easily.

On the ecommerce platform front, the availability of essential goods had shown some improvement in the past week but has now shown a decline in the last 2 days. On March 30-31 45%, and on April 5-6 53% of the consumers were reportedly able to find majority of the essential goods via ecommerce apps. This number has gone down to 50% as on 9-10 April. Prior to the Junta Curfew on March 22nd, the number stood at 65%.

Percentage of Consumers able to find essential goods via eCommerce apps reduces from 53% to 50%

Percentage of Consumers able to find essential goods via eCommerce apps reduces from 53% to 50%

The reverse plotting also shows that the ‘unavailability’ situation of essential products via ecommerce apps after showing slow but continuous reduction, is now showing a decline and 50% consumers could not find their essentials via ecommerce apps in the last 2 days.

Percentage of Consumers unable to find essential goods via eCommerce apps increases from 47% to 50%

Percentage of Consumers unable to find essential goods via eCommerce apps increases from 47% to 50%

Consumers have again reported that the availability of delivery slots on ecommerce platforms has been a problem in the last 2 days with platforms cancelling items at the last minute despite taking 4-6 days to deliver the order. Although most ecommerce platforms have resumed deliveries in last 10 days or so, consumers are still facing issues in procuring essentials.

Consumers were also asked when they tried to purchase essential goods (wheat, rice, pulses, salt, sugar, etc) from a local retail store during the last 48 hours, what was their experience like. 28% said they were able to get everything easily while 37% said they were able to get most items except a few. 20% said they were able to get only some items as stores were stocked out for others and 15% said they were not able to get most of the items. None said they were not able to get anything.

Availability of Essential Goods in Retail Stores during COVID-19 Outbreak: 65% consumers were able to find most essential goods in their local retail stores in the last 48 hours

Availability of Essential Goods in Retail Stores during COVID-19 Outbreak: 65% consumers were able to find most essential goods in their local retail stores in the last 48 hours

On the local retail stores front, the availability of essential goods has also declined in the last 2 days. On April 5-6, 70% of the consumers were reportedly able to find essential goods at local retail stores. This number has gone down and stands at 65% as on 9-10 April. Prior to the Junta Curfew, the number stood at 83%.

Percentage of Consumers able to find essential goods at local retail stores reduces from 70% to 65%

Percentage of Consumers able to find essential goods at local retail stores reduces from 70% to 65%

The reverse plotting of retail stores shows a trend similar to that of ecommerce apps, where the ‘unavailability’ situation of essential products has increased from 30% to 35% in the last 2 days.

Percentage of Consumers unable to find essential goods at local retail stores increases from 30% to 35%

Percentage of Consumers unable to find essential goods at local retail stores increases from 30% to 35%

The essential goods availability situation is likely to deteriorate further till there is uncertainty on the lockdown extension. If the lockdown is extended pan India, things are likely to improve as there will be one common system for the most part across India for movement of stores, warehouse and delivery workers. However, if the Central Government leaves it for the different State Governments to plan and implement their state level lockdowns, essential goods availability is likely to further deteriorate. This is due to the fact that there may be new requirements at state and local levels for businesses to comply and new restrictions. For instance, in parts of Madhya Pradesh, currently only milk and medicines are currently accessible to consumers while the supply of essentials, fruits and vegetables has also been shut by the local administration.

LocalCircles will be submitting the findings of this report to various stakeholders in the Central Government and State Governments and making them aware of the current situation on essential availability along with recommendations that can help in improving this.

About LocalCircles

LocalCircles, India’s leading Community Social Media platform enables citizens and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions and enables Government to make policies that are citizen and small business centric. LocalCircles is also India’s # 1 pollster on issues of governance, public and consumer interest. More about LocalCircles can be found on https://www.localcircles.com

Akshay Gupta - media@localcircles.com, +91-8585909866

All content in this report is a copyright of LocalCircles. Any reproduction or redistribution of the graphics or the data therein requires the LocalCircles logo to be carried along with it. In case any violation is observed LocalCircles reserves the right to take legal action.

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