With the Indian government gradually easing restrictions and opening markets and malls, baby boomers appear to be finding it difficult to adjust to the new norms, particularly when it comes to shopping.
Having been in the habit of shopping by physically visiting markets, for many it is proving quite difficult to switch to online shopping amid pandemic concerns.
A retired lecturer in the state of Haryana said she doesn't trust online shopping, therefore she would step out of her house to buying everything while adopting all the safety measures.
"The main reason behind it is we have been going to the malls and market for years. So, we have that tendency of touching or feeling the quality of the products. The older ones will always tell you about the quality in one go. However, in online shopping it is not the same. You can’t just see the pictures and choose anything and wait for its arrival in order to finally check it", said Sushila Devi, a retired lecturer in Haryana.
Another lady told Sputnik in Delhi that her kids have been pushing her to switch to online shopping and use specifc apps to help get all she needs delivered to her doorstep.
"It is not easy to just switch to apps and I don’t trust the quality of the online products also. But yes, I will make sure that I take all the safety measures before stepping out of my house keeping the pandemic in mind", said Kiran Anand, a housewife.
Most millennials, however, said they would prefer doing their shopping online, while keeping in mind the growing concern for the contagious COVID-19 virus and need for social distancing.
"I am going to avoid stepping out as long as possible. Will either shop online or call my trusted or known shopkeeper to get what’s required. For the past two months that’s what we did. It is okay to have something of a different or low quality rather than risking your life", said Uma Bhati, a food entrepreneur in the city of Noida.
Another youngster said despite not knowing how many people might have touched the product before it reaches you, it is safer than directly exposing yourself to the virus by stepping outside.
"Shopping in malls/markets is a big no when it involves the risk to not just your own health but also your family members. We might not know about how many people would have touched the packet before it reaches us. But we sanitise it as precautionary measures which is much safer than going out and exposing yourself directly to people who might be asymptomatic or having symptoms of the infectious virus", said Sakshi Upadhyay, a law student from Uttar Pradesh.
Sputnik also spoke to owners of e-commerce businesses and those who own shops in markets to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the public mindset.
"Ever since the government allowed the delivery of products, the work has started to pace up and it can be observed that people are moving towards e-shopping rather than going out themselves due to the pandemic", said Tanuj Khandelwal, of the Desi Urban Store available on Amazon and Flipkart.
While Preeti Chawla, a boutique owner in Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar, said people are actually scared to come out to markets and shops due to the spreading speed of the virus.
"As we are into boutique or tailored business which is equivalent to a barber at salons, the customer has to go near the service provider, breaking the social distancing norms. But people who do not trust online websites for perfect measurements or quality, are still preferring to shop offline".
She further stated business has definitely suffered as people are moving to online shopping due to safety reasons, which has led to a lack of footfall in markets, but she believes that once the crisis is over business will return to normal.
Ramit Arora, a shop owner in Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar, stated they are planning to increase their online presence as they are getting more demand via social media sites.
India was brought put national lockdown starting 25 March as a collective endeavour against the contagious virus, COVID-19.
Since people were required to stay indoors and maintain social distancing, all economic activities except for essential services were prohibited. The extension of the lockdown since then has pushed many people to buy things online instead of paying a physical visit to shops or markets.