Tuesday Aug 9, 2022
Tuesday Aug 9, 2022

Online shopping still trending post lockdown

2022 Jan 29, 8:41, Kathmandu
Internet Shopping Cart Shopping Online Shopping (photo via Max Pixel)

Amongst many changes that the pandemic brought into people’s lives. Be it basic needs or luxurious items, one major change has been the method of shopping. Though online shopping was gaining slow but gradual popularity in Nepal, the lockdowns helped speed the process up rapidly. As people were restricted in their own homes, online shopping proved to be easier and a much safer option than going out. Even today, when people are able to physically shop for their needs, many continue to order things online.

Before the pandemic, online shopping was mostly limited to food deliveries and occasionally other items. However, the lockdowns forced many individuals to shop for their basic needs online too. Abhimanyu Sharma, manager of Gyapu.com says “Most of our customers shopped for groceries online during the lockdown. This was not a common thing before the pandemic”. Speaking of their growing market boundaries in the pandemic, Sikshya Upreti, Head of Sales at Meroshopping.com says, “Before the pandemic, our clients were mostly based within the valley. However, we have seen an increase in the number of orders from outside Kathmandu valley these days”.

Amsu Amatya, co-founder of The Sweetlime believes that the number of online shoppers in Nepal might have doubled since the pandemic started in 2020. “Speaking from both a business perspective and my personal observation, the numbers might have doubled seeing how popular online shopping is getting”, says Amatya. “By now, most families have been involved in at least one online purchase”, Sharma adds.

Online stores struggled as much as they flourished during the pandemic. The restrictions were a major issue for such stores since they had to struggle with importing products from around the world and delivering goods to clients. “There was an exception for basic need delivery services like food and medicines during the lockdowns. However, the idea of basic needs had changed during those times”, says Sharma. “Many students ordered laptops from us for their online education. But we were unable to deliver to many of them as electronics did not fall under the ‘basic need’ policy”, he adds.

Amatya and her team were unable to import items from foreign countries due to travel restrictions. “We had to start manufacturing some items ourselves”, she says. “This may be a good thing as we are selling Nepal-made products now, but it was a huge struggle back then”, she adds.  Despite being vaccinated and following safety protocols, the risk of being exposed to the virus was equally high for online businesses. “People used to receive goods in baskets to avoid physical contact”, says Sharma. “We also tried our best to stick to digital payment”, he adds.

Even though people are not as restricted as before and are able to shop physically, the amount of online shoppers has not gone down by a huge number. People still opt to shop online out of habit, and also because it is more convenient. “We have seen a decrease in grocery shoppers after the lockdown ended. But not much has changed in other categories such as electronics, clothes, accessories, etc” says Sharma.


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