Pakistanis Rapidly Embracing Online Shopping Due to Covid-19

A young girl shopping online on laptop through credit card

No one can deny that global coronavirus pandemic has impacted several aspects of our life. People gathering at restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas, movie theater, park and gyms has fallen from thousands to hundred and from hundred to ten. Office workers are working from home full time. People are experiencing staying away from their friends, relatives and close connections. In this period of isolation and uncertainty, people attitude of bulk buying has transformed into online shopping.

Cities are under lockdown. Luxury and nonessential businesses are closed. Limited shopping of only essential item has become normal. Even the large online platforms such as daraz and getnow are selling only essential items. To mitigate the risk of public gathering, people are putting orders online and getting things deliver at their doorsteps.

Paul Marsden, a psychologist at the University of the Arts London said that “Panic buying can be understood as playing to our three fundamental psychology needs.” First, independency in making choice. Second, feeling of doing something beneficial. Third, feeling of making appropriate choice. In fact, COVID-19 has created uncertainty and contradictory information. Multiple sources are providing differing advises to customers. It is making them confused. Meanwhile, scarcity of essential items on the shelves of store inducing customers to stock up. All these factors have expanding online shopping in Pakistan. 

Nonetheless, people are facing a serious trouble while purchasing online. Many people are concerned about safety of online orders. Experts have pointed out that coronavirus can remain alive for three days. Customers are afraid that virus might be present of purchased items. The World Health Organization has addresses the issue and reports “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.” It indicates that receiving packages from infected location is safe. 

It is observed that people of different age responded differently to the pandemic. People having age between 15-40 have showed concern about crisis and its impact on economy. They have not only cut back on spending but also spending less on experiences. In contrast, people older than 40 years are slightly less worried about economy as compared to young.

In large cities such as Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, many local groceries stored experienced scarcity of items. This leads many customers to buy online. Demand for food items, baby products, masks and cleaning recorded sharp rise. It is verified with the data provided by Nielsen, demand of hygienic and medical mask has increases by more than 300%. As a result, grocery ecommerce soared to fulfil the needs of customers.

In a nutshell, current crisis has only changed the way we work, and communicate with people but also our shopping behavior. Majority of Pakistanis are preferring to buy online because it is safe, convenient and easy to get necessary items at doorstep.  

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