Orders soar for Grofers, BigBasket as coronavirus lockdown shuts malls

By Press Trust of India|17th Mar 2020
Online grocery platforms Grofers and BigBasket are witnessing up to two-fold growth in purchases as authorities in multiple cities close malls and shopping places to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
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Online grocery platforms Grofers and BigBasket are witnessing up to two-fold growth in purchases as authorities in multiple cities close malls and shopping places to contain the coronavirus pandemic.


The e-tailers said they were shoring up supplies amid the sudden increase in demand due to panic buying across a number of cities in the last couple of days.


These companies are witnessing very high demand for products in the personal hygiene category and immunity boosting items such as honey and Ayurvedic products.


"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, Bangalore, 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 Grofers Co-Founder and CEO Albinder Dhindsa.


"We have seen a rise in both the number of orders at 45 percent as well as order value at 18 percent," he added.


Online Grocery platform



Alibaba-backed BigBasket said it hasd witnessed two-fold growth in traffic and revenue. It also witnessed an increase of 15-20 percent in its basket value.


Though BigBasket has faced "some disruption" in its supply chain in the last three days, the company said it had taken corrective action 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 said supply has not been an issue for it so far.


"However, we are still bumping up capabilities and hiring more people to ensure availability and access of critical goods. We are also working with more manufacturing partners to scale the supply basis demand, while requesting customers to opt for considerate shopping so that shelves remain stocked for everyone," Albinder said.


In the personal hygiene category, Albinder said Grofers had seen a demand surge of 400 percent in sanitisers, 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 percent. 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," he said.


BigBasket has also witnessed increased demand for essential items such as staples, atta and dal, fruits, and vegetables.


"We are in control because the predominant share is from our private label products. We are not facing shortages in FMCG branded products, except in the case of sanitisers. In effect, supply will not be an issue," BigBasket said.


Grofers said it had observed hoarding tendencies among some of its users and was blocking them to make sure essential items were available to genuine customers.


"Yes, we have observed hoarding behaviour among consumers across states. We are taking a hard approach to hoarding of essential commodities. A lot of people are trying to game the system to acquire items, and we are working proactively to block them and make sure essential supplies will be available to genuine customers," said Dhindsa, adding that the online grocer had also discontinued promotions for essential commodities.


Excessive buying or multiple orders to bypass inventory limit can lead to order cancellations on the platform, he added.


However, BigBasket said it was "not witnessing hoarding behavior thus far".


(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)

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