The coronavirus pandemic has taken a massive toll on consumer sentiment in India with the majority of shoppers withholding on purchases to save money for the future.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a massive toll on consumer sentiment in India with the majority of shoppers withholding on purchases to save money for the future. About 60% of Indian shoppers have either cut deep into their expenses or are saving and stockpiling for the future as pessimism looms large in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. These shoppers are currently spending less across all categories. Some of them are “worried about their families, less optimistic about the future and have been stockpiling essentials,” an EY report mapping consumer behaviour post-lockdown said on Wednesday. Only a relatively small segment of consumers, which is the least impacted, is expected to resume their old shopping behaviors.
“60% of Indian consumers believe the way they shop would change as a result of COVID-19. In the early stages of the pandemic, consumers were worried about the health of their families and meeting their basic needs,” the report said. However, there is another set of customers as well which while is concerned about the pandemic, it can still afford to deal with it and is best positioned to face the fallout of coronavirus. It is also likely that this particular set will get back to shopping once things start to settle and spend money. A majority of the consumers from this segment expect that their finances will be better over the next one year.
With this shifting paradigm in consumer behaviour, companies need to take swift actions and make changes to their existing models to tackle the ‘now’, ‘next’ and ‘beyond’ phase. “Companies must formulate strategies immediately to address the challenges in all the three phases, including permanent safety measures in offices and on shop floors, re-evaluating brand portfolio, expanding relationships with third-party e-commerce platforms… ,” Pinakiranjan Mishra, Partner and National Leader, Consumer Products and Retail, EY India. said. Companies need to act in the ‘now’ stage and must be able to transform digitally, invest in technologies such as artificial intelligence, and improve the overall customer experience to stay resilient.