Welcome expansion of the digital marketplace

Shops on the high street and in the neighbourhood are just opening up and are difficult to reach.

Published: 21st May 2020 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st May 2020 07:24 AM   |  A+A-

E commerce, online shopping, retail stores

Representational image

As the country slowly limps back to normalcy, the latest order from the Centre allowing e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart to deliver ‘non-essentials’ to customers in red zones is an important relief for hard-pressed consumers. In the first two phases of the lockdown starting March 25, e-tailers were allowed to sell only ‘essentials’ like pharmaceuticals, healthcare products and groceries. With most of the country still under curfew, the option of placing digital orders and having them delivered at one’s doorstep will ease the pain of not being able to access thousands of necessary, everyday products. Shops on the high street and in the neighbourhood are just opening up and are difficult to reach.

Consumers closeted in their homes require laptops, computer peripherals and mobile phones to continue to function, as well as groceries and medicines to keep body and soul together. These are the initial hot-selling items on e-commerce sites. But as we advance into summer, there will be a growing demand for coolers and ACs, clothing, personal care products as well as sports gear. With malls and supermarkets tightly shut, e-commerce deliveries are the only option. For the e-tailer too, opening up of ‘non-essentials’ has come as a survival booster. Though orders are a fraction of pre-pandemic times, the opening up of digital orders will save jobs and hundreds of small businesses selling products on these digital marketplaces.E-commerce, the way of the future, has rapidly grown in India doubling from around $20 billion in 2017 to $40 billion at the beginning of this year.

However, relative to other markets, our digital transactions are woefully small. Just about 120 million or around 10% of our population buy online; in December last year, online sales as a percentage of total retail sales were only 1.6% in India, versus over 15% for China and around 14% globally. However, the restrictions on physical movement during the lockdown is forcing people to migrate away from ‘look-and-feel’ buying to making purchases by tapping the images on their cell phone screen. Sometimes it takes a crisis to jolt people in the right direction.

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp