E-commerce firms such as Flipkart and 1MG have seen a significant increase in the demand for COVID-19 essentials such as oximeters and test kits following a sudden surge in the number of infections in the country.
"The sale of oximeters and test kits saw a surge of over 4.4x and 12x in metros," said a Flipkart spokesperson without disclosing the number of items sold.
1MG, which recently got acquired by Tata Digital, also said that the sale of testing kits grew five-fold in the first week of January as compared to the last week of December. The sale of oximeters grew four-fold while that of thermometers and respiratory masks doubled during the period under review.
The company also saw a notable increase in immunity boosters and vitamin supplements. "They’re growing at a rate of 50 percent week on week. Our overall sales have seen a growth of around 40-50 percent in the last couple of weeks," said Prateek Verma, Head ePharmacy Tata 1mg.
"We are able to service most orders being placed, since we have been building up capacity in advance. We have a lot more labs as well as pharma capacity today than during the last wave, and hope it will help," he added.
On the other hand, Mylab Discovery Solutions that manufactures CoviSelf, a self-testing kit also said that Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are the top states where the demand for their kits was high. According to Hasmukh Rawal, MD and Co-founder, in the last one week, the company has witnessed a 500 percent jump in the sale of its self-test kit, CoviSelf. The company claims that CoviSelf can detect major variants of coronavirus including Omicron.
While the companies did not share the number of units sold across categories, talking to Moneycontrol, Rajiv Singhal, General Secretary of the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) said that Piramal, which distributes self-testing kits, recorded a sale of 4 lakh kits in just the first nine days of January across the country.
"Of course this is because of the delay in getting testing slots from labs, but we also think people are buying and keeping a few kits to be safe," he said, adding that in December, Piramal accounted for the sale of 1.39 lakh self-testing kits.
Not just testing kits and oximeters but companies have also seen a spike in grocery orders as people prefer staying indoors following the Omicron scare.
"Grocery demand saw an overall growth of 1.6x over the same time period," the Flipkart spokesperson said without sharing absolute numbers.
This happens even as India has begun administering COVID-19 booster shots.
India on January 10 reported 1,79,723 new cases and 146 fatalities in the past 24 hours, according to data from the Union health ministry. This has brought the total caseload to 3,57,07,727, as active COVID-19 cases now stand at 7,23,619. Meanwhile, 46,569 persons recovered from the disease in the past 24 hours.