Skip to navigationSkip to content
A shopkeeper sells groceries to a customer at his shop in Kolkata
Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri
Moving online.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

India’s coronavirus lockdown has given online grocers the opportunity of a lifetime

The coronavirus outbreak has brought many major industries in India to a screeching halt. But the country’s online grocery delivery sector—currently valued at just around $1 billion—has been given a unique and powerful opportunity to hit the accelerator.

At 8pm on March 24, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown across the country during which all shops and e-commerce portals other than those selling “essential items” would be closed. Existing customers and first-time users flocked to the country’s top two e-grocers, BigBasket and Grofers, to stock up.

Bengaluru-based BigBasket clocked twice as much traffic and revenue for the month of March, while the average basket size—value spent per customer per transaction—was around 20% higher than normal days. Meanwhile, Grofers saw an 80% surge in the number of orders on its app in mid-March—even before the lockdown was announced—and the amount spent by shoppers rose by 48%. By the second week of April, there were five times more active users on Grofers’ app than normal.

You are reading a Quartz member exclusive.

Become a member to keep reading this story and the rest of our expert analyses on the changing global economy.

Why we think you’ll like it:

The rest of our guide to The delivery dilemma

News of the moment that’s contextualized, digestible, and always global in perspective

Exclusive, deeply researched guides on what the economy’s next normal will look like

Master this transition in your work and personal life through direct access to our journalists and the rest of our community