While the pandemic shows no signs of abating in India, it is evident that large sections of the population have reconciled themselves with the new normal. Offices are opening, businesses are resuming full-scale operations, while salaried professionals are stepping out of their homes with more regularity, braving the uncertainty.
There is an indication that this new normal could be a bit different though, for continuing health concerns and the need to maintain physical distancing has altered consumer preferences as well as business strategies. This week, some reports provided an insight into the same.
The State of Shopping App Marketing 2020 report by AppsFlyer, a mobile marketing analytics and attribution platform, notes that India witnessed a 250% spike in non-organic shopping app installs as the country began lifting Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in May. This shows that even when given the option of physically visiting the store, Indians preferred to shop online.
Moreover, there was a 580% spike in retargeting conversions or repeat customers on shopping apps in India after the country had begun opening up.
Other, more telling numbers reveal that there was an 85% higher share of buying users on shopping apps in India during May-June compared to March-April since the country was under a strict lockdown till May. The recovery in online shopping was led by fashion products, as the app reveals. There was also a 104% jump in revenue per user for fashion ecommerce apps in India, from March to May 2020, as online shopping picked up in the country.
Another report, titled “Online Grocery: What Brands Need To Know“, mentions that the online grocery market in India, which had recorded $1.9 Bn GMV (gross merchandise value) in 2019, is growing at a CAGR of 57%, and could clock $3 Bn GMV by the end of this year. This growth can be attributed to several factors, chief being the Covid-19 tailwinds for the segment. Online grocery stores witnessed a rise in demand while countrywide lockdown restrictions were in place.
The changing consumer preferences, which see an increasing propensity to order online, was also reflected in Indian food delivery startup Zomato’s Mid-Covid report for September 2020. The report notes that restaurants which had shown the dexterity to adapt to the changed circumstances and open themselves up to online delivery of food items were leading the recovery for the food delivery industry in metros such as Delhi and Mumbai, where according to Zomato, the food delivery industry has recovered 95% of their pre-Covid levels.
This week, the US-based massive online open course (MOOC) provider Coursera also released its 2020 Impact report. The report notes that India, with 9.8 Mn learners, is Coursera’s second-largest market in the world, behind the United States which has 14 Mn learners. Coursera’s popularity in India is only an indication of the growing usage of online learning platforms in the country.
- Global tech giant Apple, on Wednesday (September 23), launched its online store in India, offering a full range of its products and support directly to the customers across India.
- The central government, on Monday (September 21), told the Supreme Court that digital media platforms such as news portals, magazines and YouTube channels have the potential to spread hatred and tarnish the image of individuals. The centre’s arguments came in an affidavit filed in the case being heard against television channel Sudarshan TV, and one of its programs titled ‘UPSC Jihad’, seen to be vilifying Muslims.
- The Lok Sabha, on Saturday (September 19), passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The bill allows public companies to list certain class of securities in foreign jurisdictions. The current legal framework doesn’t allow Indian companies to directly list abroad, before getting themselves listed in Indian stock exchanges.
- Meanwhile, Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal, on September 23, in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, said that there was no data available on the contribution of startups to the country’s GDP. The minister also added that DPIIT does not have the data on startups affected by the pandemic.
- On MSMEs data, the government reiterated that no data has been maintained on how many small and medium enterprises have been shut down during the pandemic. However, the minister said as of September 6, 2020, DPIIT had recognised a total of 36,106 startups.
- Hotel and hospitality unicorn OYO has reduced its monthly expenses by nearly $70 Mn from $100 Mn pre-Covid to $30 Mn. The company is also clocking in nearly $25-30 Mn per month and is achieving break-even, chief executive of SoftBank Investment Advisers Rajeev Misra highlighted during the ET Global Business Summit held on September 24.
- Homegrown ecommerce platform Flipkart, on Thursday (September 24), announced that it has expanded its recently launched wholesale unit to 12 new cities to support neighbourhood kirana stores and other MSMEs.
Among the notable movers and shakers this week, OYO Hotels & Homes has appointed Tejal Patil as Senior Legal Advisor for India & South Asia. Also, Trell has appointed former vice president of global growth and marketing at Unilodgers, Sahil Deswal, as the VP of growth and monetisation.
From the funding and acquisitions corner, overall, $243 Mn was invested across 18 Indian startups this week.