More consumers are reportedly tapping into eCommerce to buy groceries, as well as other products, following a panic-buying in Singapore in February as the coronavirus outbreak took hold. RedMart, the grocery division of Alibaba’s Lazada, said it is “currently seeing unprecedented demand” in Singapore, CNBC reported.
Lazada Singapore CEO James Chang said, according to the report, that consumers “have been buying 4 to 10 times more food staples, 3.5 to 5 times more paper products, and 2 to 6 times more personal care and household cleaning supplies.” And Ninja Van, an express delivery company, said it experienced nearly tripled package volume this month for the health and pharmacy category compared to a month prior.
Ray Chou, who is the Ninja Van Singapore country head, told the outlet in a written response, “We have received more requests from customers in that segment to do more parcel pickups.” Chou continued, “We have also noticed more of our shipping customers who are not in the pharmacy/health category starting to sell medical and health products.”
Chang, for his part, noted orders of RedMart skyrocketed at the time that Singapore increased its response level to orange in early February after an increase in coronavirus cases that were locally transmitted. The city-state has now reported 96 confirmed cases of the virus as of Feb. 27 at noon and 66 were discharged.
Earlier this month, news surfaced that Alibaba Group had created a special platform highlighting medical supplies to help combat the coronavirus. The Alibaba Global Direct Sourcing Platform is a business-to-business (B2B) “information bridge” that pairs medical suppliers and their offerings with affected hospitals and authorities.
Products purchased via the platform will be routed to hospitals based on the level of immediate importance. Industry partners will speed up the shipping, handling, delivery, and customs clearance. Alibaba said in an open letter to worldwide suppliers per an earlier report, “Our goal is to connect the global supply chain with those in need of supplies in a more expedited and efficient way.”