The booming gig economy, gig market and gig workers are giving ushers in hyper-lapse consumerism. Online platforms like Dunzo, Zepto, Swiggy instamart, Amazon Fresh, Big basket and others are setting a new definition of consumerism. Three to four years back consumers use to go to the market and bring their groceries as per the requirement. However, the contemporary market can be defined as online shopping and instant delivery.
This idea of market mechanism is very much lucrative for online sellers and buyers. But it has its other side also. The basic principle of business is the gain of one is the loss of another. Furthermore, excessive gain over a short period always leads to shocks in long run. Here, the question is who is the gainer and who is the loser as well as what is the cost of the present gain.
Can we say that the online sellers are benefitting at the cost of the retailer’s loss? Or hyper-lapse consumerism is booming at the cost of exploitation of gig workers as well as the environment. The gig workers are part of the informal sector because they do not inherit any job security. Because of the huge number of orders and the pressure of instant delivery, the delivery persons are always in hurry. It not only increases the chances of accidents but also affects their mental and physical health for which their employers are not answerable. Both humans and the environment are suffering. If we compare the packaging of retailers to that of online suppliers, the latter is using comparatively more plastics and paper for packaging.
In addition to this, there is an increase in vehicle use due to an infinite number of orders per day. It is not only harmful to the environment but also affects human health, and increases the chances of plastic consumption by animals. Moreover, there is a decline in the sale value of retailers because of cost, convenience, and catalogue provided by e-commerce. However, the question is how these online sellers are managing such low prices, free deliveries, offers, and discounts. For a consumer it is a win-win situation, which is further leading to hyper-lapse consumerism, but are the online sellers going to continue with these offers in long run or it is just a short–run marketing plan? What if the retailers adopt a similar strategy?
Author: Juhi Singh Author is a PhD Research Scholar at ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad.