Covid-19 and Movement Control Order result in spike for online retailers

Shoppers are purchasing more food staples, personal care and household cleaning supplies

By ASILA JALIL / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

ONLINE retailers are seeing a spike in sales amid the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases coupled with the nationwide Movement Control Order which takes effect today.

The spike in sales is a result of a significant portion of Malaysians exercising panic buying online to secure their essentials.

Lazada Malaysia’s spokesman said there was a jump in orders over the weekend and demands on the website are currently increasing following the government’s announcement of the order on Monday.

Shoppers are purchasing more food staples, personal care and household cleaning supplies.

“We also see increased demands for teleconferencing and computer accessories as Malaysians hunt for necessities to create a more conducive and productive home working environment,” said the spokesman in an email reply to The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Meanwhile, although there is a sharp increase in orders and deliveries since mid-January, Tesco Online could not determine if the increase is related to the recent Covid-19 outbreak.

“There is also an increase in sales in personal hygiene items like soap, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitisers both in our physical and online stores,” Tesco’s spokesman told TMR.

In a statement, Tesco Stores (M) Sdn Bhd (Tesco Malaysia) CEO Paul Ritchie said all 60 Tesco stores nationwide and Tesco Online will remain open for business during the Movement Control Order while assuring that Tesco has enough stocks in its stores to meet customers’ demand.

“Although customers may find a few items are unavailable due to high demand, I would like to reassure that new stock is arriving all the time and we are working around the clock to fill the shelves quickly,” he said.

On Sunday, Malaysia recorded a highest-single day increase with 190 new cases, followed by an additional 125 new positive cases on Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 553.

This led to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announcing a 14-day Movement Control Order in a bid to contain the Covid-19 spread.

The current number of cases stood at 673 (at press time) yesterday.

On the other hand, online seafood store My Seafood Mart saw up to 40% jumps in sales as of yesterday as compared to the previous months.

The family-run business said although environmental factors like the weather had impacted the amount of seafood being caught, they are still to meet the increasing demand.

“We only deliver in Klang Valley and I do notice the higher demand since the outbreak. Our sales have increased between 30% and 40% in March,” said a worker who only wanted to be known as Benny.

Shopee will also run business as usual with daily necessities including toilet rolls, wet wipes, hand sanitisers, canned food and fresh produce available on the platform.

Its regional MD Ian Ho said with close to 10,000 types of products, there will be additional measures for Shopee Mart by limiting the number of key essential items that can be purchased by each user to ensure everyone gets access.

“Shopee is working closely with our sellers and logistics partners so that precautionary measures such as disinfection of warehouse and vehicles, parcel sanitisation, and temperature checks are done for workers, drivers, and riders in the interest of safety,” he added.

Due to fear of the virus that led many to panic buying and flooding supermarkets across the country, supermarkets have run out of several essentials like instant noodles, eggs and chicken.

Supermarkets such as Jaya Grocer and Mydin have introduced special opening hours to cater to the elderly and disabled customers.

Jaya Grocer will open at 9.30am just for the group while some Mydin outlets will begin operations as early as 7.30am.

There are also various online grocery and delivery services in the country that can help customers to get their essentials during this time like HappyFresh, Tesco, Jaya Grocer, Potboy, and Redtick.

My Seafood Mart and My Fishman are among the seafood delivery services available for consumers while those who want fresh organic products can purchase their items from Everleaf and Organic Express.