Almost 72 per cent of online consumers do not want the government to restrain e-commerce platforms from offering heavy discounts or flash sales, as proposed in the amendments to Consumers Protection (ecommerce) Rules, 2020, says the findings of a survey conducted by social media platform LocalCircles. The study was conducted across 394 districts to gauge consumers’ pulse on the key issues in the proposed ecommerce rules.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has sought public opinion on these proposals by July 21. It received over 82,000 responses from consumers with nearly 3/4th of the participants not in favour of ban on flash sales. Of the total participants, 62 per cent were men, while the rest were women. The survey revealed only 19 per cent of consumers agreed with the proposed changes while remaining 9% did not have an opinion. A sizable number of consumers have been using this channel increasingly because they have found it to be safe and convenient and it offers competitive prices with the ease of return, it added.
“The survey also brings clarity to the issue of sales, where 72 per cent of consumers do not want the government to ban or restrict or intervene in sales on e-commerce platforms,” the survey said. The reason being is that these sales make purchasing more affordable and allow them to save more, which is of great importance during these difficult times, it noted.
The survey comes amid consumer concerns that the government’s proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (eCommerce) rules 2020 may restrict sales on online sites. On June 21, the government had released draft e-commerce rules under which it banned the fraudulent flash sale and mis-selling of goods and services on e-commerce platforms, and also made registration of these entities mandatory with the Department for Promotion of Industry.
Among other findings, the survey said about 47 per cent of consumers expect COVID-19 uncertainty to last 6-12 months and it may have an impact on their household budget planning and therefore seek maximum value from every penny they spend. The survey also found that about 43 per cent of consumers sought the ”country of origin” details while shopping online in the last six months. However, consumers are split on whether ”country of origin” information must be displayed in text or image format on ecommerce platforms, it added.