Impact of COVID-19 on shopping behavior in India

December 18, 2020

Shopping behaviors amongst Indian consumers has evolved during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During the early stages, a large number of Indian consumers were either in containment zones or there were limited options available for making their necessary and discretionary purchases. This led to consumers trying new channels, products and brands, which in turns has resulted in changes to consumer’s shopping habits and their path to purchase.

Amazon Advertising commissioned a study with Kantar in July of 2020 to understand the impact of COVID-19 on buying preferences of Indian urban active internet users. The total population covered under the urban active internet user definition was 309 million as of 2019. The study illuminated three trends:

Consumers have shifted to online channels during COVID-19

Kantar asked shoppers about their purchasing patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study found that:

  • 42% of Indian urban active internet users are shopping online during the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly half of those being first-time online shoppers
  • 46% of these ‘new to online shoppers’ live in Tier-1 and 2 cities*

Amazon is a popular destination for research

Many of the Indian shoppers surveyed prefer to research products online before making online or offline purchases. Amazon has emerged as one popular destination for product discovery amongst those researching online.

  • 66% of Indian urban active users have researched online before buying products, either offline or online, and
  • 52% of the online researchers1 have visited Amazon for their research

New to Amazon shoppers expect to continue using online channels

New-to-Amazon shoppers reported being highly satisfied with their purchase experience, and a majority continue to be favorably predisposed to shopping on Amazon in the future.

  • 82% of new to Amazon shoppers stated that they are likely to continue shopping on Amazon long-term.
  • Categories these shoppers are likely to buy over the next 6-8 months included: apparel & fashion (43%), mobile & accessories (42%), personal care & beauty (41%), household & grocery (39%), home appliances & decor (33%), and consumer electronics (24%)


Indian shoppers are increasing using online channels in their shopping journeys, and many are using Amazon to research and discover before making a purchase either in an online or offline store. Brands have an opportunity to think about how they can engage and cultivate relationships with these shoppers early in their purchase journey to help cultivate them into brand loyalists.

Amazon Advertising can help brand marketers engage customers in every stage of the marketing funnel. For more information, contact your Amazon Advertising account executive or get in touch with an advertising representative.

Research source and methodology

Amazon Advertising commissioned Kantar to design, field, and tabulate results of this study via online and telephonic interviews. 5,744 respondents across 31 towns completed the survey in 11 languages between July 9th and July 22nd, 2020. Respondents were qualified as Indian residents aged 18 or older who have access to internet. Kantar research analysts applied weighting factors to the survey data to ensure the sample reflected the Indian Urban Active Internet User population on age, gender, and geographic distributions as reported in Kantar’s ICUBETM.

* Indian cities are classified by the Government of India as Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 based on population density of the city.
1These researchers could make the final purchases either offline or on other online sites and may or may not necessarily end up being Amazon customers