Even as corporate India is expected to be severely impacted by the 21-day lockdown, Nielsen on Thursday said that overall fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) should witness growth for the full year, but did not rule out an impact that the lockdown would have on demand.
As safety and hygiene is on top of everyone’s mind amid the Covid-19 outbreak, Nielsen findings show that hand sanitisers have witnessed a 53% sales growth in February versus a year ago and 11% growth in the previous three months. Similarly, liquid hand wash sales growth is at 42% versus 28% in mid-Feb to mid-March last year. Sale of antiseptic liquids have jumped to 39% versus 6% and toilet soaps to 8% from 7%. E-commerce order growth for these items has been even more steep with hand sanitisers registering 14 times the normal growth.
While the firm expressed difficulty in sharing out-of-stock data of essential items, it said that traditional trade growth for branded pulses was a sharp 72% in mid-Feb to mid-March 2020 versus a 16% growth in the corresponding period last year, while packaged atta grew by 25% versus 20% during the same duration.
When it comes to e-commerce order growth, a more than two-fold jump witnessed in cooking oil, 21% in cooking mediums and 16% in packaged atta. Salty snacks saw growth of 84%, soft drinks at 68% and biscuits at 31%.
The Indian FMCG Industry growth rate has been on a downward trajectory for the last three quarters, and it was only in the month of February that growth rate had started flattening. While the data research firm did not revise its guidance for the year as yet, the impact of Covid-19 would be visible on growth numbers.
Nielsen had predicted FMCG growth to be between 7.5 and 8.5% in January-March 2020. Prasun Basu, president (South Asia), Nielsen Global Connect, said that there will be a revision in these estimates in light of the unprecedented scenario of Covid-19.
“It is difficult to predict what will be the new normal and how will growth pan out, but we are not expecting things to come to a standstill. February has not been a bad month and Nielsen had called out the year to be better one. We expect the numbers to be good but I think there will be a Covid-19 impact and we should not disown that,” Basu said.
Speaking on the Covid-19 impact on the sector so far, the firm said that supply chain has not broken down and completely out of stock situations for essentials have not happened.
Sameer Shukla, west market leader, Nielsen Global Connect, South Asia, said: “As far as current impact on supply chain is concerned there would be specific incidences here and there but it is not a situation where everything has broken down”.