Coronavirus: Consumers Seek 'Non-Essentials', Services Amid Lockdown
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With the countrywide lockdown owing to the Coronavirus outbreak keeping everyone home for an extended period of time, people have begun to face problems with goods and services that have been deemed as ‘non-essential’, according to a recent survey by community platform LocalCircles.
The survey, that received more than 17,000 responses from across the country, found that 50 per cent households need their air-conditioners or refrigerators repaired, with the onset of the Indian summer.
When asked what service they required urgently, 18 per cent went with AC or refrigerator repair while 11 per cent each said that they needed repairing of other electronics and gadgets such as mobile phones. 19 per cent said they needed repair of all mentioned products, and 23 per cent said they didn’t need any such repairs done right now.
The Indian Home Ministry made an U-turn last week, wherein, after first allowing ecommerce companies to carry out routine business, it issued a separate notification only days later saying delivery of non-essentials such as mobile phones and laptops would not be allowed.
As per the survey, five per cent respondents said that if ecommerce companies were allowed to deliver, they will order gadgets such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones while 13 per cent said they will order office and school supplies such as chargers, paper, books, and stationery. Five per cent said they would order white goods and appliances such as air conditioners, coolers and refrigerators.
12 per cent said they would order both gadgets and office/school supplies.
LocalCircles said it would be submitting a copy of its report on behalf of consumers to various stakeholders in the government, requesting them to expand the essentials list based on the products and services outlined.
Ecommerce players such as Paytm Mall and ShopClues have previously come out with statements asking for the government to expand the scope of the essential goods category, so as to allow consumers to buy things other than grocery, and ensure that things keep running smoothly at these households. However, the Confederation of All India Traders, a traders’ body which has been a long time critic of the likes of Flipkart and Amazon, lauded the change in the government’s stance.
The number of patients who have tested positive for the virus has crossed 23,000 in India, with 721 deceased. A little over 5,000 people have been reported to have recovered as well.