Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Online Grocery Business

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Written By Rakesh Jain

Amidst the scare of the deadly pandemic – COVID-19, one thing that we can’t live without is grocery. Since offline grocery shopping has been either restricted or put to halt in most of the areas, online grocery apps are rising above as a knight in the shining armor.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak has put a sudden break to our lives and economies, leaving us all in a clueless situation about what’s going to happen next. The impact of the deadly virus has taken a toll on many important industrial sectors all over the world recovering from which, will take the time we can’t even predict. 

Apart from Coronavirus, the major blow that struck us all down was when a lockdown was announced by almost all countries around the world in order to contain the spread of the virus, asking people to stay home which triggered another crisis i.e. panic buying.

Although the government assured that daily essentials will be available on a regular basis, people began to stock up groceries like crazy, robbing everything available from the offline grocery stores. Soon, the local grocery stores become out of stock, and people began battling over delivery slots in the online grocery apps. 

Those already familiar with and regular customers of online grocery apps too began stocking up groceries from apps in tons and now there is a struggle over delivery slots in almost all major grocery delivery apps like BigBasket, Grofers, Amazon Pantry, etc. due to the panic buying.

While Grofers witnessed a 14-15 percent rise in the number of new users and double the number of orders from the existing users over the past few weeks, Bengaluru-based BigBasket jammed due to twice as much traffic and revenue for the month of March itself.

Due to the massive surge in demand and limited manpower, they even have to cancel millions of orders as supply chains came to a standstill on March 23.

Now, let’s understand how the virus impact bought the online grocery delivery apps in a limelight all of a sudden and why? 

The initiative of contactless delivery

Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Online Grocery BusinessSince stepping out is dangerous considering the current situation, people started looking for safe options than going out to offline grocery stores where you can expect a crowd panic-buying already. This brought online grocery delivery apps into the limelight.

Although it had the plus point of getting things delivered at the doorstep and contactless shopping, understanding the need for social distancing, all the grocery apps introduced the contact-less delivery as well which got more attention. 

Unlike before, the delivery workforce of all online grocery delivery apps is now leaving the ordered products at the doorstep where the customer is supposed to leave a bag.

While in some countries, autonomous drone deliveries have been initiated by some grocery apps as well to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in any manner. The practice of such a sensible step by online grocery delivery apps is the major reason why there is a sudden surge in the usage of such applications. 

Multiple online grocery shops at one screen

The next major reason for people’s transition from traditional grocery stores to online apps is because of the ease of browsing multiple stores in one app, which means, you are not required to visit different stores to meet your multiple requirements like a dairy for dairy products, vegetable & fruit stores, frozen products stores, meat, and seafood, etc. as all of them you can browse and order using a grocery delivery app. 

Since already there is a restriction in moving around and due to lack of products in local grocery stores along with the fear of spreading the virus due to physical contact, people are preferring online grocery apps more to stay safe and stay home while shopping and getting all products at their doorstep. 

Challenges faced by online grocery business

While all major grocery delivery apps are trying their best to meet the rising demands of millions of customers, they too are facing a lot of challenges due to COVID-19 lockdown effects. Some of which are; 

  • With traditional grocery stores and supermarkets running out of stock, online shoppers are facing a hard time in managing frenzied shoppers.
  • The delivery staff is at higher risk due to the exposure to the virus which is a potential challenge for online grocery marketplaces.
  • Limited manpower and the trouble to stock the needs of customers are making it difficult for grocery apps to deliver products on time. 

What lies ahead for the online grocery business?

Since the extent of pandemic can’t be predicted, it is difficult to say how long the lockdown will last as the virus is continuing to create havoc all over the world. But even though the lockdown is lifted and we become free from the hold of the contagious virus, things won’t return to normal very soon.

People are slowly accepting the new way of living and due to fear, the physical contact is not going to happen as it was earlier, all of a sudden. Therefore, online shopping will continue and may maintain the current rise or even more after the end of COVID-19 as well. 

Furthermore, in a country like India where offline grocery shopping was like a habit, the abrupt shift to online grocery shopping is indeed a big change which hopefully will continue as those who were not familiar with it are now loving and understanding the convenience of online shopping. 

What will become of the offline grocery stores after COVID-19? 

Although the Coronavirus lockdown has given a 39 percent jump in grocery sales in online stores, many offline grocery stores are planning to take the plunge into the online world looking at the way people are migrating towards online grocery apps which is good for them as an online grocery app can give much more in terms of customers, exposure, sales, ROI, etc. than offline stores.

In addition to that, all one needs to do is invest in a grocery shopping app development and need not buy or rent a physical store which is nothing but a huge cost saving. 

In a nutshell, 

The current spurt in the growth of online grocery platforms due to COVID-19 lockdown is most likely to continue as people are coming to understand the ease and convenience of shopping groceries online.

The way grocery apps are proving to be lifesavers in such a difficult time is nothing but opening the doors to grocery delivery app development furthermore which may see a high demand in the coming months after the world becomes free from the clutches of the deadly virus. 

Now, instead of seeing lockdown as suffering, you can utilize it better by planning to get a grocery mobile app developed while staying home.

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