E-commerce companies increase hiring of delivery personnel before the festival season

The decisions were made in the midst of a tighter labor market and stubbornly high inflation, which have complicated the outlook for the sector's long-running battle with a high staff turnover rate

August 23, 2022 11:30 IST | India Infoline News Service

E-commerce businesses in India are rapidly increasing their delivery staff numbers out of concern that they may suffer during one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year, which starts in earnest next month.

The decisions were made as the labor market tightened—India's unemployment rate dropped below 7% in July for the first time since January—and inflation remained high, which complicated the outlook for the sector, which has long struggled with chronically high employee turnover.

"Overall demand for the gig workforce has increased significantly, while the growth in the number of delivery workers does not fully reflect this." "It's not a freely flowing pool," BigBasket's chief operations officer, TK Balakumar, told Reuters.

The company, sponsored by the conglomerate Tata Group, increased the number of delivery partners in its instant delivery section BB Now from 500 in the March quarter to 2,200 in the quarter that concluded in June. By March 2023, it hopes to increase that number even more to almost 6,000.

BigBasket and other e-commerce companies, like Dunzo, employ their own delivery staff, but others, like cosmetics-to-fashion shop Nykaa, rely on outside providers.

According to a report released in June by the think tank NITI Aayog, the number of people employed in gig work in India is expected to reach 9.9 million in 2022-23, a 45 percent increase over 2019-20. 

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