Amazon has said that complete COVID-19 lockdown in India since March 24 due to which the ecommerce giant was allowed to sell only groceries and other essential items has resulted in the biggest revenue impact in any country in the international market.
The Indian government has directed the ecommerce platforms to sell only essential goods during the lockdown period that is on till May 3, while it has allowed the opening of standalone retail shops in a bid to ease lockdown restrictions.
Speaking to analysts over an earnings call on Thursday, Amazon chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said that the demand of the revenue side has been severely impacted in India when compared to other shelter-in-place geographies across the world.
“I think the biggest impact internationally has been in India, where of course, similar to other companies in India, we’re now only fulfilling our essential goods such as grocery,” said Olsavsky.
“So that’s cut back a lot on our offering, and we will further expand when the Indian government announces that were allowed to resume operations. So we’re in a bit of a holding pattern except for grocery in India,” he added.
With the government allowing the opening of standalone retail shops in a bid to ease lockdown restrictions, Amazon has urged the authorities to also let it sell non-essential items so that millions of consumers at home can be benefitted.
According to an Amazon India spokesperson, e-commerce offers the safest way for sellers and retailers to serve the needs of citizens while ensuring social distancing.
“We are committed to keep citizens safe and urge the government to enable e-commerce to play its role in the joint fight against the pandemic by allowing the supply of all goods that people need over a prolonged period,” the company spokesperson said late last month.
Amazon India said that it is committed to serve more than 100 million Indians from the safety of their homes, reduce the number of people who need to step out, while at the same time help hundreds of thousands of small businesses jumpstart their livelihoods in these difficult times.
Amazon India has introduced a ‘partner support fund’ for small and medium business partners in logistics who have been impacted due to the lockdown.
In a statement, Amazon India said that through the one-time disbursement, the fund will support the partners in multiple ways, which includes enabling them to provide financial aid to nearly 40,000 of their staff for the month of April 2020.
Additionally, the fund will help cover some critical fixed infrastructure costs, and support liquidity and cash flow for these businesses as they resume and scale their operations post lockdown.
Amazon India has extended the Amazon Relief Fund to eligible delivery associates who are part of the Delivery Service Partner Programme, Amazon Flex programme and its trucking partners providing transportation support.