Effects of the lockdown on online and offline stores

The lockdown has seen different price trends in physical and virtual markets. Here are some shocking numbers.

Effects of the lockdown on online and offline stores

Ever since the news of the mandatory lockdown came out, one of the primary causes of worry and panic among people has been food. Day to day groceries are essential items that one cannot do without for too long. But has the common man been able to sustain on these items without any troubles? Let’s find out.

Essential items 

When the government announced a 21-day lockdown from March 24, 2020, it was also assured that the prices of essentials will remain the same. Financial experts reconfirmed this by saying that since there would be no significant increase in the demand for these products, their prices were also not expected to rise.

Related: FM Sitharaman announces economic relief measures to quash coronavirus impact

Ground reality

Contrary to the government’s assurances, the prices of common items have been considerably hiked. Most pulses like chana and arhar dal have become costlier by 15-20% in Delhi. These trends have also invited concern from government officials. As reported by Times of India, a consumer affairs ministry official recently expressed his disbelief, “How can there be price spike when the consumption is less and there is no bulk consumption at all as restaurants and hotels are shut. Secondly, there are no social functions or celebrations. There is no shortage of food items despite the lockdown.”

Related: COVID-19: Some Frequently Asked Questions

E-commerce v/s retail stores

As far as the prices are concerned, trends show that online marketplaces have done better in complying with government orders as compared to offline markets. A community platform called LocalCircles conducted a survey in Bengaluru to find out that 39% of people admitted to falling victim to high prices while buying their commodities from offline stores. The figure for the same in online stores was 21%.

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Common high priced products

In Delhi, tomatoes that were priced at Rs 23 per kg before the lockdown now cost Rs 33 per kg. The survey conducted by LocalCircles also revealed that many people were worried about the increasing prices of masks and sanitisers in online as well as offline stores. In addition to this, there have been reports of local shops selling their products at an elevated price while taking orders on apps like WhatsApp. These shopkeepers sell products higher than the MRP and send a consolidated bill to the customer. The authenticity of such bills is hard to verify.


Statistics clearly show that e-commerce websites have shown better compliance with government orders. The need of the hour is to have stricter rules and implementation to curb such unethical practices in offline stores. Read this to know how to prepare yourself financially during a pandemic.


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