A new study on the buying behavior of people in the first days of the pandemic has indicated that fear of infection along with lockdown restrictions led to a decrease in the frequency of essential purchases but led to panic and excessive purchases. Although online retail platforms have overtaken local vendors in recent years, the trend reversed during the lockdown.
A team of professors from the civil engineering departments of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in Bombay, Palakkad and Hyderabad and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) at the Pilani-Hyderabad campus analyzed the responses of more than 700 respondents. on their purchase of perishable food and non-perishable basic necessities during the first months of confinement. The results of the study were recently published in the journal Research in Transportation Business and Management.
Participants were asked about their buying habits for essentials before and after the lockdown and it was revealed that around 56% of those surveyed made daily essentials purchases, but this figure fell to 34% after the lockdown. locking.
“Some people had stocked up on basic necessities, sensing the uncertainty of the situation and the future, so people went to the markets less frequently. People visiting the markets once every two weeks went from 7% to 14.1%, ”the survey report said.
According to the survey report, 88% of respondents (up from 77% before the lockdown) preferred to visit local markets and vendors for perishable items while 72% (up from 44% before the lockdown) chose to purchase items perishable from local vendors in the first few months. containment.
The survey was conducted through various digital platforms between April 29 and May 25, 2020, and a total of 730 responses were considered by the researchers. About 63% of those surveyed were from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities and came from 20 states across the country.
“The purchasing behavior of commodity consumers affects retail stores, manufacturers, logistics companies, online stores, transportation planners and policy makers in normal times. In emergencies such as a COVID-19 pandemic, studying behavior is even more critical because it is the question of their survival and we need to make sure everyone has access to basic necessities. The aim was to understand change in an emergency, which can help stakeholders make their systems resilient and plan activities to minimize the negative impact, ”said Professor Gopal Patil of IIT Bombay and one of the study’s authors.
“The growing share of organized retail stores reversed during the lockdown due to their inability to meet excessive demand and proximity to Kirana stores,” the report said.
Other factors explaining this change included difficulty in ordering online, especially as several items were not allowed to be sold online, lack of confidence in the retailer as well as transportation restrictions. affecting supply chains.
The researchers suggested that local stores should stock basic necessities and that efforts should be made to facilitate local Kirana stores to improve their in-store shopping by making electronic payment gateways accessible.