New: Guitars and robot vacuums

KOLKATA: Middle class and upper middle class Indians are not only buying less than before, they are also buying very different items — guitars and weights, e-readers and children’s books, and robotic vacuum cleaners and super mops are filling up online shopping carts.

Buying patterns are largely getting dictated by life’s travails under lockdown, major online marketplaces and retail chains say. Denied the comfort of domestic help doing the cleaning, and/or the cook doing lunches and dinners, the relatively better off are buying more labour-saving household devices that get the job done. Equally in demand are products that keep locked-in children as well as adults engaged.

Amazon India’s head of seller services Gopal Pillai tweeted Thursday night children’s books, women’s sleepwear and guitars are selling briskly. And some of the highest spikes are for products like robotic vacuum cleaners and dishwashers.

Similar buying patterns are replicated across other retail platforms – Flipkart, and leading chains such as Future Group, Reliance Retail and Vijay Sales.

Life under lockdown has led to specific demand surges that have produced supply shortages. Dishwashers and super mops weren’t big sellers when domestic help was easily available. Now these products are in short supply.

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