Fears of a Lockdown on Tuesday Drove a Spike in Grocery Delivery Carts, According to Grofers CEO


As people feared another lockdown in India, Grofers CEO and Co-Founder Albinder Dhindsa tweeted last night that more than 600,000 carts had been created on the platform and were waiting to be checked out. Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech to the nation on Tuesday at 8:45 p.m., but he did not announce a lockdown, much to the relief of many. Instead, he urged state governments to consider a lockdown only as a last resort in dealing with the ongoing COVID crisis.

While PM Modi’s over 19-minute speech was being streamed live, Dhindsa tweeted to highlight the number of carts being created on Grofers. The executive also shared a screenshot of the company’s internal analytics, which shows a significant spike in traffic, particularly at 8:45 pm IST, when the speech began.

After the PM did not announce a lockdown, Dhindsa did not mention how many of these orders were actually placed.

Since the last national lockdown in March 2020, online grocery delivery in India has risen to prominence. The country’s online grocery business accounts for less than one percent of total grocery sales. Nonetheless, the pandemic has pushed many new customers to online grocery platforms like Grofers and Big Basket, which is owned by the Tata Group.

Amazon and Flipkart have been in the online grocery business for a long time. Last year’s lockdown, however, allowed Swiggy and Zomato to deliver groceries. Both, however, shut down their grocery-focused online marketplaces months after they launched due to difficulties interacting with offline retailers.

Experts believe that, despite low penetration and challenges in bringing consumers and merchants online, the online grocery business, particularly in urban areas of the country, has a huge opportunity to grow.

According to a recent report by consulting firm RedSeer, India’s online grocery market could reach $24 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2025 (roughly Rs. 1,81,200 crores). The entry of new players such as Reliance Industries’ JioMart is also expected to help the market grow.

However, as both Amazon and Flipkart have begun to face restrictions in delivering non-essential items such as electronic goods and furniture, keeping grocery deliveries has become increasingly important.

Last year’s national lockdown had a significant impact on Amazon and Flipkart’s businesses, as they were unable to deliver non-essential orders for several weeks. Due to state restrictions, both companies have recently limited their deliveries to essential items only in Maharashtra and Delhi, bringing the situation full circle.

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