Srinagar: E-commerce hubs in Kashmir have taken a huge hit with demand dropping by 50 percent following the ban on high-value shipments.
This follows the second COVID 19 wave which has battered key states in the country.
“The demand has fallen by more than 50 percent. People are skeptical of spending money other than buying essentials as they fear a major lockdown in view of the COVID spread in the valley and countrywide. Gradually we are witnessing a decline in our business. If lockdown continues, we may face consequences,” said Qari Zahoor Ahmad, president Kashmir Courier Services Association.
Qari said Flipkart and Amazon and other e-commerce have been hit badly across the country. “Warehouses of these companies are located in different states. Since these states are affected by COVID-19, the courier services in the rest of the country have been indirectly hit,” he said.
Qari said e-commerce companies have also reduced the delivery of high-value shipments to Kashmir for the last one month. “Certain companies hesitate to dispatch its products to Kashmir. The supply chain is affected since high-value shipments are not coming to Kashmir. Right now shipments are below Rs 10,000 which earlier used to be of the order Rs50, 000 to Rs 80, 000,” he said.
Electronics, smartphones appliances, apparel, and other high-value items are considered non-essential items, and sales of these products had been halted for the last one month.
Moreover, the export of handmade goods has declined by more than 50 percent for the last two months in the valley.
“Handicrafts sector, which includes carpet, paper machie, fur, shawls and other are not witnessing a major activity. European countries have suspended air traffic with India. With the result, we are not able to ship our goods,” said Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, former Kashmir Chamber of Industries and Commerce president and noted exporter of silk and carpet.
The courier sector in the valley had resumed its services after a nearly five-month-long lockdown last year. Prior to that, the service had been affected for more than six months in 2019 when the valley witnessed lockdown after the abrogation of article 370.