E-commerce firm Paytm Mall has recorded a surge in demand for non-essential items like mobile phones and laptops that are required to support work from home, and academic material during the ongoing lockdown, the company said on Wednesday.
The platform has recorded over 3.5 lakh requests for non-essential products with demand for mobile phones rising 200 per cent.
Paytm Mall senior vice-president Srinivas Mothey in a statement said that items like laptops, mobile phones computer accessories that facilitate work from home should be included in the list of essential items.
"... we believe that the ambit of essential goods should be increased. India is mostly working from home at the moment but many are finding it difficult as they are running low on certain items necessary to effectively operate under lockdown."
"Laptops, mobile phones, and accessories, computer hardware, webcams, all these things should be allowed to be part of essential goods," Mothey said.
The company said that lakhs of customers over the last five weeks have earmarked their 'wishlist' on Paytm Mall, in hopes of buying them immediately after the end of lockdown.
"Mobile phones which are important parts of life are seeing upwards of 75,000 requests, while 50,000 of Paytm Mall users are waiting for the lockdown to end to buy laptops. Demand for laptop charging cords, phone chargers, headphones, desktop computers, and study tables are also on an all-time high," the statement said.
The company said that it has received over two lakh e-mails and 3.5 lakh requests in the comments section for delivering laptops, mobile phones, headphones, trimmers, chargers, academic books and other study materials, consumer electronics as well as white goods since the lockdown was imposed to contain coronavirus infection.
According to the data published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, around 97 percent of broadband connections in the country are accessed through mobile devices.
The government has allowed telecom services to support work from home during the lockdown but people are unable to buy mobile devices and related accessories due to restrictions during the lockdown.
"If the lockdown continues, lack of proper technical support would hinder the efficiency of employees which in turn would affect a company's operations," Mothey said.
Mobile phones industry body ICEA and traders body CAIT have jointly approached Home Minister Amit Shah for allowing sales of handsets as they are pivotal for communications during the lockdown.