shopping habits: Under lockdown, India changes shopping habits

Mumbai: Lockdown plus WFH equals new online shopping behaviour. Office hours are turning into shopping hours, especially for essentials, data shared by companies managing online and offline transactions show. And that weekend spending bulge too has somewhat flattened, with those working from home managing their routines differently.

“Transactions at retail stores have significantly declined during late evening hours and have been replaced by transactions post-lunch and evenings,” said Rajeev Agarwal, CEO, Innoviti, a leading point of sale (PoS) deployer.

Nearly 70% of all grocery shopping in the fourth week of March at over 3,000 stores powered by Innoviti happened between the usual working hours of 10 am to 7pm – up from 57% in the first week of February. Only 9% of spends were made post 7 pm in March – this used to be around 37% in February.

And while weekend spends at these stores used to be between 150% and 180% of weekday spends during pre-lockdown period, the difference has come down to 75-100%, according to Innoviti data.

“Some volumes are affected due to early closure of shops in many cities…forcing customers to alter their spending patterns,” said K Srinivansan, chief revenue officer, FSS, a payments solution provider for banks. Also, average purchase order value increased in weeks following lockdown, implying a tendency towards hoarding.


Shift to Contactless Payments

“Ticket size for essentials like groceries and pharmaceutical products has risen by over 75% during the lockdown period,” said a PhonePe spokesperson. “We are seeing over 50% increase in transactions in recharges/ DTH categories. In an interesting trend, users are recharging not only for themselves but also for family and friends.”

Online utility billers have also seen similar patterns. Rohit Kumar, CEO, XPay.Life, a bill payment platform said, “most of these transactions take place before lunchtime and in the evening.”

Meanwhile, modes of payment where the need for physical interaction such as those made through contactless cards, QR codes and even directly through UPI Ids have witnessed increased adoption in the lockdown weeks. This is in line with advisories by banks and regulators promoting the use of all contactless modes of payments as “the safer way to pay.”

“Payment service providers are coming up with apps that alert consumers about merchants near them who use UPI,” said Praveena Rai, COO, National Payments Corporation of India. “Merchants are also sending across UPI IDs. These solutions were not popular earlier and have evolved just in the last few weeks.”

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