The way Indians have been doing grocery shopping online has changed. Read what’s new

As the dust of the pandemic settles, the way Indians purchase groceries has fundamentally changed. What began as a necessity has morphed into a preferred convenience, reaching far beyond the metros and Tier 1 cities to the bustling corners of Tier 2, Tier 3, and even Tier 4 towns. 

Post-pandemic, convenience and value drove many households to shift their grocery shopping online. Now, even in smaller cities, more consumers are opting for the ease of doorstep delivery for their packaged groceries. 

A LocalCircles survey, based on over 70,000 responses from online grocery buyers across 227 districts of India, highlights several key insights:

For 86% of respondents, product quality is the top criterion when choosing an online grocery platform. Value for money and delivery time follow closely, with 73% of buyers prioritizing these factors.

An interesting shift from 2023, 67% of buyers now want value pricing with no delivery fee, willing to wait up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, 17% prefer their groceries delivered within 30 minutes, even if it means paying a delivery fee.

The percentage of buyers who shop for groceries as needed, rather than on a scheduled basis, has risen sharply from 23% in 2023 to 57% in 2024. This indicates a growing preference for same-day delivery, moving away from monthly or weekly planned purchases.

Six in ten buyers want automated refunds for unsatisfactory purchases, without the hassle of physical inspections or prolonged customer service interactions. Nearly 30% of buyers use specific platforms for exclusive products and often end up purchasing other groceries from these platforms as well. This loyalty hinges on the quality and service offered.

For the 17% of buyers who prefer all groceries delivered within 30 minutes, the study reveals:

66% are from metro or Tier 1 cities, and 30% from Tier 2 cities. Among those disclosing their age, 82% are under 27, highlighting the demand for quick delivery among Gen Z.

The challenge for platforms like Amazon Fresh and Big Basket is to reduce their delivery windows to keep these quick-commerce enthusiasts engaged.

In a pilot ratings exercise in Noida, involving over 4000 consumers and at least 500 ratings per platform, key insights were gathered:

  • Amazon Fresh: Leads in quality, value, and service.
  • Big Basket: Tops in selection and exclusivity.
  • Quick Commerce Platforms (Zepto, Blinkit, Instamart): Improved in service and selection, maintaining fast delivery within 30 minutes.
  • JioMart and Flipkart: High on value but lagging in delivery times.

The study received responses from a diverse pool: 62% men, 38% women; 51% from Tier 1, 32% from Tier 2, and 17% from Tier 3 and 4 locations.

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