While other countries are on average seeing a current dip of 25 per cent in retail activity compared to pre-pandemic levels, in India it has seen a gradual and slow increase from 85 per cent dip at the beginning of the lockdown to 57 per cent now. Grocery and pharmacy shopping, however, have returned to pre-pandemic levels in the country, an analysis of the Google location data found.
Also, two-thirds of workplace and transit activity has been restored in India, even as consumers stay away from malls and marketplaces.
Non-hotspot states are normalising their retail activity more than hotspot ones, according to the Google data. The retail levels of Bihar, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Odisha and Karnataka are at a little over half of pre-pandemic levels. However, there is still at least a 59 per cent difference in retail activity compared to pre-pandemic levels in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Telangana and Gujarat.
The largest jump in retail activity since the unlock is in Kerala, Bihar, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh — which have all seen at least a 20 per cent jump in retail activity since May 31. The Northeastern states have seen very little increase, while Maharashtra and West Bengal have only seen a 10 per cent jump since May 31.
Since the unlock began, workplace activity has seen 20 per cent increase nationwide, with a higher increase in Andhra Pradesh, MP, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar, the analysis found.
No state has seen workplace activity coming back to pre-pandemic levels, but some Northeastern states are close. Eastern states like Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Odisha are at just 20 per cent below pre-pandemic workplace activity levels.
The report compares current location trends to a baseline from January 3 to February 6, taking the median value for the corresponding day of the week.
The first phase of the lockdown was March 24 to April 13, the second till May 3, third till May 17, and fourth till May 31. Unlock started on the first day of June, with significant relaxations on June 8.