Impact of COVID-19 on shopping behaviour in India

18 December 2020

Shopping behaviours 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 turn, has resulted in changes to consumer’s shopping habits and their path to purchase.

Amazon Ads 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 favourably 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 that these shoppers are likely to buy over the next six to eight months included: clothing and fashion (43%), mobile and accessories (42%), personal care and beauty (41%), household and food (39%), home appliances and 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 Ads can help brand marketers engage customers in every stage of the marketing funnel. For more information, contact your Amazon Ads account executive or get in touch with an advertising representative.

Research source and methodology

Amazon Ads commissioned Kantar to design, field and tabulate results of this study via online and telephone interviews. 5,744 respondents across 31 towns completed the survey in 11 languages between 9 July and 22 July 2020. Respondents were qualified as Indian residents aged 18 or older who have access to the internet. Kantar research analysts applied weighting factors to the survey data to ensure that 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 the 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