We are all aware of the toll the deadly corona virus had on humanity in the last three years. The disease inflicted by this novel corona virus (also known as SARS-CoV-2) came to be known as Covid 19, which simply stands for the Corona Virus Disease of 2019 as the first occurrence of the disease was in November 2019. As Covid 19 quickly evolved into a global pandemic spreading rapidly, owing to the globalisation and the multitude of easy travel options, many countries of the world went into the lockdown mode as a preventive measure to avoid the further spread of the disease and reduce the overall loss of lives.
As most countries did, the government of India, the largest democracy of the planet also took the bold move to shut down its borders and also went into country wide lockdown in the month of March 2020. Although the first wave of covid 19 in India had devastating effects in terms of loss of lives, the much stronger blow of covid 19 in India was during the second wave during the April/May 2021. Besides the loss of lives there have been many other notable effects of Covid all around the world. These are predominantly the economic impact of the lockdowns on trade across many industries. There were some winners and losers. On the losing end were the businesses in the travel and hospitality sector, the winners were most notably the online commerce business, especially the ones selling the basic day to day essentials.
An interesting observation of the impact of covid 19 on online grocery shopping in India can be easily seen on google trends. As can be seen above, the search term “Online Grocery” gained such a huge momentum in the months when the covid 19 lockdowns were the enforced strictly, following a trend of waning interest in the keyword, which increased again in during the stricter lockdowns of the second wave. This forced consumer behavior changes towards online grocery shopping saw many new business models emerge in India within this space. In addition to the established online retailers venturing into the online grocery delivery business, many quick commerce players emerged with promises to deliver groceries at the consumers’ doorstep within 10 to 30 minutes. This further crowded the grocery market, making it more competitive and also adversely affecting the traditional brick and mortar local grocery stores like provision stores, departmental stores, general stores, Kirana stores etc. and also nearby supermarkets.
Most peculiar of the observations of this trend in “Online Grocery” is that the peak of the search interest graphs is not uniform during the two covid 19 waves. An explanation for this could be the fact that the people were in general had established new behavior of buying grocery online and were consistent in buying from their preferred online grocery retailer. Another reason for this could be the fact that even the administration had learnt and established measures to cater to the grocery needs of the consumers by having certain designated opening hours of the local provision stores, general stores, departmental stores and Kirana stores, in the interest of supporting these small business owners in sustaining their livelihood.
As the world is now almost out of the global pandemic mode and with WHO downgrading covid 19 to endemic many countries are returning to the economic activities of the pre covid era. With almost all covid 19 measures being relaxed, all the local grocery stores and supermarkets are operating as they used before the pandemic, although they are also adjusting to the new market dynamics and competitive forces of new entrants. This would be one of the reasons why the search interest for “Online Grocery” is now almost consistent in the last 12 months (as of January 2023). But this doesn’t mean that the online grocery retailers are now closing shop and people are switching to the offline mode. Notable part of the grocery consumer segment has already adapted to the online grocery shopping and might not be seeking out afresh and so, no indication in search interest as they consistently buy from their regular online grocery shop. As of now the online grocery shopping accounts to only around 2% of the market share which indicates the potential for new market players and new models to emerge.
The team Santhe is also one such aspirant who had introduced a new way of online grocery shopping via its mobile apps. Santhe Apps bring together the local traditional grocery buying behavior customer segment and the local grocery stores like provision stores, departmental stores, general stores, Kirana stores & nearby supermarkets. Customers can use the Santhe App to easily create a grocery shopping list and wherever ready to make a purchase, the list can be easily sent to local grocery shops and supermarkets nearby. The local grocery shops and supermarkets that are registered on the Santhe Merchant App can then easily add their prices, discounts and deals to the and make an offer to the customer. The customer can now compare the different offers from different local grocery shops and choose the offer that suits them best. This new way of online grocery shopping aims to promote local economy and foster local community. Feel free to try our apps from the using the below download links.