According to a survey by market research and data company YouGov, nine in 10 urban Indians (89 per cent) picked banks as the most essential service during the lockdown from a list of businesses providing non-essential goods and services.
Banking was followed by the online home repairs, which was considered to be crucial during this time by around three-quarters (74 per cent) of respondents. The onset of summer and the need for AC and fridge servicing could be the reason for placing greater importance on this need, the survey noted.
Interestingly, the survey said many people considered newspapers and magazines as well as pet stores to be of higher importance (61 per cent each) in the current scenario than the availability of alcohol and cigarettes.
The need for pet stores and services is more urgent for tier I residents (with 66 per cent) than tier II (57 per cent) and tier III (59 per cent) residents. The demand for pet stores, however, is comparatively lower in south India.
The survey was done from data collected online by YouGov Omnibus among 1,000 respondents in India between April 21-24 using YouGov’s panel of over six million people worldwide.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry’s decision to cancel the permission to sell non-essential commodities on e-commerce platforms is likely to add to the disappointment of many who consider the online sale of kitchen appliances (40 per cent), gadgets (33 per cent) and body or skin care products (35 per cent) as essential.
The survey also found that there also seems to be scepticism towards some businesses that the government has allowed to trade during the pandemic.
While 60 per cent said they consider postal and courier services essential, people seem to be in a less dire need of local standalone salons and parlours, and only a meager proportion counts salon services – either at home (15 per cent) or at shops (13 per cent), as “essential”.
On restriction on the operation of gyms and fitness centres, close to half of the respondents (46 per cent) think of them as key services, but almost as many (54 per cent) feel they are unnecessary, it said.
At an overall level, people seem happy with the availability of essential items in the lockdown, with 76 per cent respondents saying they are satisfied with the available essential services and don’t want any more amenities while 17 per cent are dissatisfied with the services and want more amenities during the lockdown, it added.