New Delhi: Walmart-owned Flipkart on Monday said it is awaiting advisories from different states for resuming full services, including in red zones, a day after Home Ministry's guidelines on lockdown 4.0 were released.
According to Union Home Ministry's order on Sunday, "all other activities will be permitted, except those which are specifically prohibited" under the fourth phase of the lockdown that ends on May 31.
However, in containment zones, only essential activities will be allowed.
States and union territories, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain other activities in various zones or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary, the order had added.
In the first two phases of the lockdown (that started from March 25), e-commerce companies were allowed to sell only essential items like grocery, healthcare and pharmaceutical products.
In the third phase (May 4-17), these platforms were allowed to sell all items in orange and green zones, but only essential items were allowed to be shipped in red zones, which included top e-commerce hubs like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad.
An Amazon India spokesperson said the latest development will give a fillip to the six lakh retailers and MSMEs on its marketplace and help revive economic activity broadly.
E-commerce platforms have been adversely impacted during the lockdown, as groceries, which made up most of their delivery activity, accounts for a small portion of online sales.
Sales of non-essential items on e-commerce platforms in the first week of May, after sales of such items were allowed in green and orange zones, were lower than last year on account of the lockdown. However, industry executives said orders were scaling as people bought apparel, smartphones and grooming products among other items, in these zones.
The industry continues to face the challenge of availability of limited manpower for warehouses and delivery.
Paytm Mall said it saw a 50 per cent surge in sales for grooming products like shavers, trimmers, epilators, hair straighteners and styling products and hair dryers, from tier II and III cities in May over March.
Most trimmers were sold in cities like Lucknow, Raipur, Guwahati, Belgaum, Nagpur, Surat, and other smaller cities.
The company said it has also seen a steady increase in the number of female shoppers from smaller towns on its platform.
Industry body IAMAI said digital services till date have helped ease the burden of lockdown with services facilitating work from home, e-commerce, edutech, digital payments and digital entertainment.
"Even as lockdown 4.0 is extended, the country is looking at a new normal where social interactions are bound to be severely distorted, either under injunction or public awareness or concerns. Digital platforms are the only plausible medium for both businesses and customers in the coming days and needs to be strengthened," the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) said.
It added that the "bold and emerging Indian tech start-up sector is more than capable to develop a self-reliant digital services sector that can cater to the needs of the country in the new normal"....