Lack of clear guidelines leads e-commerce businesses to continue to deliver non-essential goods
As local lockdown e-commerce regulations differ from state to state and continue to change, numerous e-commerce businesses are continuing to deliver ‘non-essential’ goods across the country.
A long list of states, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu, among others are only allowing e-commerce businesses to deliver goods deemed ‘essential’. However, a lack of clear guidelines on what ‘essential’ means, has led some retailers to continue to deliver fashion, electronics, and cosmetics during the local lockdowns, ET Tech reported.
The Tamil Nadu government has clearly stated ‘essential’ goods are defined as food, provisions, vegetables, meat, and fish. However, the other states have not produced a definitive list. Many e-commerce businesses are also lobbying to have all products officially permitted for delivery, arguing that people working from home especially need access to suitable electronics, clothing, and other goods.
According to a recent survey by community social media platform LocalCircles, there still remains consumer demand for ‘non-essential’ goods amongst those under lockdown. In Maharashtra, 60% of survey respondents said that they plan to purchase work-from-home equipment online in the coming three months and, in Delhi, the rate was 48%. The platform did mention that pan-India demand would be expected to be lower than in the two states but is still present.
In April, the Confederation of All India Traders accused foreign-owned e-commerce businesses, including Flipkart and Amazon, of flouting lockdown regulations by continuing to deliver ‘non-essential’ goods and taking business away from small businesses.
The traders’ body suggested that the businesses are using their size to enable them to go against local laws but the businesses have not commented on the matter to date.
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