Online demand for non-essentials remains low despite delivery partially reopening
Grocery sales remain strong during the extended lockdown, but sales of apparel and other non-essential goods remain low, despite a relaxation in e-commerce delivery options. This trend is expected to continue.
Fashion has been one of the hardest hit industries during the extended pan-India lockdown and orders remain low even for businesses which have been able to restart deliveries in some areas. Fashion is the second highest-purchased online product category after electronics but brands are finding it difficult to shift stock.
“Our current estimates point at only 60 to 70% of demand recovering even after restrictions for ecommerce are eased across the nation,” an anonymous senior executive at a leading Indian e-commerce firm told ET Bureau.
“It’s still early days and while things might change, we’re seeing that people are buying only when there is an absolute necessity.”
Although e-commerce businesses are beginning to be able to deliver to green zones, red zones where a high number of coronavirus cases have been confirmed include metros such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru, which constitute important customer bases for many online retailers.
Unemployment, especially in red zones, means that many families have less disposable income and so less funds for fashion purchases.
Some clothing brands have begun to take orders but are still holding off on shipping until they are certain that regulations allow it. On May 11, luxury traditional wear designer Tarun Tahiliani announced that he has restarted online orders and will deliver, “as soon as we are formally authorised to do so,” the brand announced on Facebook. Many other brands are also taking this approach.
A number of brands are promoting new product categories such as ‘work from home’ wear, in a bid to cater to customers dressing for online conference calls. Lounge wear has also become a key product category during lockdown. However, higher-value product categories such as traditional wear, outdoor clothing, and office wear remain very low, ET Bureau reported.
As lockdown and its economic effects continue, it is unclear what the fashion industry will look like in the post-Covid-19 economy.
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