80% of those who ordered grocery online during lockdown did it for convenience as opposed to price and selection


  • • 52% online grocery shoppers found the ecommerce grocery apps useful during lockdown
  • • 32% online grocery shoppers placed one or more orders every week during lockdown
  • • 38% found fruits and veggies delivered via ecommerce grocery apps to be of poor quality
Online Grocery Shopping during Lockdown: 80% of the consumers who ordered grocery online say they did it for convenience; Quality of Fruits & Veggies was top issue

11th May 2020, New Delhi: In late March, India’s 1.3 billion people were put under an unprecedented lockdown by the Government to curb the spread of COVID-19. Shops, businesses, factories etc. were shut down but it was promised that the availability of essentials will be maintained. During this crucial time, many ecommerce grocery apps stepped up their efforts and ensured that people could order groceries from the comfort of their homes, without having to step out.

LocalCircles conducted a detailed survey to get consumer pulse on their experience of buying groceries online during the lockdown. The 5-poll survey received more than 39,000 votes from 220 districts across the country.

The first question asked consumers how often do they or their family order groceries online during the lockdown. 31% said they do it once a month, 24% do it once a week and 8% do it several times a week. 35% said they rarely do it.

32% of online grocery shoppers placed one or more orders every week during lockdown

32% of online grocery shoppers placed one or more orders every week during lockdown

This means that 32% of online groceries shoppers place one or more orders every week during the lockdown. With the nationwide lockdown, many families decided to stay at home completely relying on platforms like Amazon Fresh & Prime, Big Basket, Grofers, Flipkart etc. placing orders for groceries online and some placing multiple orders every week.

Next question asked consumers what was the key issue they faced when they purchased groceries online during the lockdown. 13% said high prices, 18% said poor quality, 8% said long time taken while 18% said selection. 43% said they did not have concerns and were happy ordering groceries online during the lockdown.

Poor quality and limited selection were top issues consumers had with online grocery shopping during lockdown

Poor quality and limited selection were top issues consumers had with online grocery shopping during lockdown

Consumers were also asked what category of products did they experience most quality issues with when ordering them during the lockdown. Fruits and vegetables came out to be the grocery category where consumers faced most quality issues while buying online. 4% said milk & dairy, 10% said grains & spices, 17% said packaged foods while 8% said others. 23% did not have a quality concern. Many consumers specifically have stated on LocalCircles about the below average quality of fruits and vegetables delivered via ecommerce grocery apps. This is an area that needs attention of both the ecommerce companies as well as FSSAI and state food and consumer departments to ensure quality and have a consumer friendly redressal mechanism.

38% consumers faced quality issues with fruits and vegetables ordered from online grocery sites during lockdown

38% consumers faced quality issues with fruits and vegetables ordered from online grocery sites during lockdown

Though availability levels of grocery items during lockdown continued to be a challenge with ecommerce or online grocery products with only 58% consumers being able to get what they wanted via ecommerce apps in the LocalCircles survey on April 20th. The percentage had slipped to 21% right before the start of lockdown when a lot of Indians did panic buying via ecommerce grocery apps.

Percentage of Consumers unable to find essential goods via eCommerce apps reduces from 43% to 42%

Percentage of Consumers unable to find essential goods via eCommerce apps reduces from 43% to 42%

A lot of consumers used multiple ecommerce apps during the lockdown to order what they needed. When online grocery shoppers were asked whether ecommerce grocery apps were useful to them during the lockdown, 52% said Yes while 45% responded in the negative. 3% did not have an opinion. In many parts of India, ecommerce grocery apps could not deliver groceries because of lack of manpower or due to restrictions imposed by local or state authorities during lockdown.

52% consumers say online grocery apps were useful for them during lockdown

52% consumers say online grocery apps were useful for them during lockdown

The final question asked consumers about the key reason for them or their family to order groceries online during the lockdown. 80% said it was convenience like doorstep/contactless delivery while 14% said availability and selection. Only 2% said better prices was their main reason.

80% of those consumers who bought groceries online during lockdown did it for convenience and not for price and selection

80% of those consumers who bought groceries online during lockdown did it for convenience and not for price and selection

One of the inputs from consumers has been that during the lockdown, many ecommerce grocery apps have increased prices by reducing the discounts or in many cases completely eliminating them. As a result, very few consumers ordered groceries using these apps because they were getting a deal but used them because of the convenience of doorstep delivery and not having to step out.

Many other platforms like food delivery also ventured into delivering essentials instead of only shipping cooked food to consumers during the lockdown. Similarly, many local ecommerce grocery apps or platforms emerged during the lockdown and facilitated home delivery of groceries to consumers.

All in all, despite the challenges faced with local authorities, migration of labour, the ecommerce grocery platforms stepped up to serve the consumer during the COVID-19 lockdown. Based on the consumer conversations on LocalCircles, just like Work From Home and Video Conferences are here to stay as alternate models for work and meetings, ordering groceries online is also likely to become a habit for many. Now that we are in the third phase of the lockdown and restrictions are slowly being eased out, many consumers feel that the grocery delivery apps will play an important role in keeping people from visiting crowded markets.

Reliance Jio recently announced a massive $5.7 billion investment from Facebook followed by multiple other investors where the vision is to use a combination of Whatsapp and JioMart to take orders from Indian consumers and deliver them to doorstep via a local retailer network. Now that ordering groceries is already becoming a habit for many, there will soon be enough players offering competitive prices and delivering your groceries home. What will matter to consumers though is top quality, extensive selection, fast delivery and reasonable prices. Whosoever can offer this is bound to become the market leader in the coming years!

Survey Demographics

39,000+ responses were received from 27,545 citizens located in over 220 districts of India. 63% respondents were males while 37% respondents were females. 58% respondents were from tier 1, 29% from tier 2 and 13% respondents were from tier 3 and beyond locations. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.

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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