~ Tejas and Pavas
Since the last decade, we have witnessed that online shopping has proven itself immensely significant for people. We have our own mini-market, opened in our phones and computers, which do not have time limitations making it possible to shop anytime and anywhere. Moreover, online shopping proved to provide a better perception of consumerism. As the purchasing power and levels of it has gradually increased, so has the demand for the products.
The increase in online shopping due to COVID
The dire need for online shopping and e-commerce websites rose up during this pandemic where people are taking precautionary measures and avoiding crowds, like a market. Well-known portals like Amazon, Flipkart and many other websites came into giving the consumers a variety of affordable purchasing power as well. And for this, people are inclined more towards online shopping sites than any of the local or consumer markets because they provide a lot more variety and affordable prices at arm’s length. At first, the digital transformation that took place when consumer markets were taken over by online shopping portals was due to the emergent phase in COVID-19 that took place all over the world and in India to a greater extent. But now the use of digital shopping has become a part of the growth phase as it is not only a need but a definite desirable want of the consumer population that they ought to carry on further now. Online portals have made living easy. Everything is delivered to your doorstep, be it clothes, groceries or even medicines. Online shopping, emerging as a need in the COVID-19 situation due to the precautionary measures of lockdown and to avoid crowded places, has now become a basic and daily requirement for the maximum portion of the population.
The dip in small businesses during festival season
Unlike the e-commerce business which is booming, small businesses have suffered a lot during the pandemic. As a result, many small businesses across the country have had to shut down permanently, while many more businesses remain uncertain about their future. The pandemic has burned a huge hole in the earnings of these small businesses, up to the point that most of them are no longer sustainable and are operating on loss or little profit.
In the initial phases of lockdown, except for the essential commodities stores, the small businesses were completely shut for about a month or two depending on their location in the country. This has impacted the people a lot because they were deprived of livelihood. It would become increasingly difficult for nonessential businesses to remain relevant during the pandemic. However, many of the businesses found solace in the e-commerce market, as it is the only market that is still operating at full strength. As a result of the dominance of the online market, many of the small businesses were able to revive. But, in the end, the ‘small business’ sector remained the worst-hit sector in our country during the pandemic. As the small scale industries sector is a crucial part of the Indian economy, it resulted in higher inflation rates for some of the essential products. This indeed impacted the economy of our country as a whole.
Apart from that, the ‘Unlock’ phase initiated by the government that marked a revival of the economy, paired with the festive season in India saw this sector swell. Even with the restrictions amid the pandemic. This resulted in many of the businesses getting right back on track. Even though they have seen increased footfall post ‘Unlock’ guidelines by the government, how long will it be before they recover to their pre-pandemic glory remains to be seen?
How can they be revived?
Reviving the small business sector to its pre-pandemic glory is a mammoth task, and given the current situation, it is possible only with the combined efforts of the government and the people. Above all, the revival of this sector is fuelled largely by the growing e-commerce market. Under the ‘Unlock’ phase, small businesses were allowed to re-open with certain restrictions. The biggest approach towards reviving the small businesses in India should be to provide incentives and benefits by the government which would help in building a firm and stable base for the business to support. As per the scale of the business, necessary inclusions should be made in the market chain and allow an overall autonomy which would prevent them from getting crushed by bigger corporations and business empires.
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