Health and safety are at the core of all important consumption led decisions with the Covid-19 pandemic extending its grip across the globe, according to the latest wave of 30-day analysis-based consumer survey by Deloitte.
The survey said that with respect to India, which is seeing a significant increase in Covid cases, the consumer is seen to be cautiously approaching the future by prioritising health safety, preferring online channels for purchases, and choosing to delay large purchases.
"Our survey insights are a reflection of the heightened consumer apprehensions, which are at the core of their decision-making. As the health crisis again takes centerstage in the country, the average Indian consumer prefers to use digital and online channels wherever applicable," said Porus Doctor, partner and consumer industry leader, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP.
Throughout the pandemic, online medium has emerged as the preferred channel for purchase and continues to grow. The survey brought out that 22 per cent of the consumers were buying online medicine, followed by electronics (34 per cent), clothing (33 per cent), online food from restaurants/take-aways (33 per cent), and if available, the next vehicle online (57 per cent) due to the various restrictions.
But during the current race of the pandemic, the consumption pattern of consumers bring out a cautious approach. The survey said the spending intent shows that consumers are focussing more on non-discretionary items as compared to the previous waves of the survey.
For instance, 48 per cent consumers show net spending intent towards healthcare, 33 per cent towards medicines, 42 per cent towards internet, 47 per cent towards groceries and 44 per cent towards household goods, indicating that consumers want to focus on non-discretionary spends in the time of crisis.
Moreover, the consumer persona shows that stock piler (63 per cent), convenience seeker (69 per cent) and bargain hunter (51 per cent) still remain high among the Indian consumers, as per the survey.
Also, Indians are significantly more concerned about returning to the workplace than they were in February 2021. About 28 per cent today worry about returning to their offices, as compared to 15 per cent in February 2021, said the Deloitte survey.
Individuals are not looking to venture out as they do not feel safe about going to a store, restaurant, staying in a hotel, returning to workplace, taking a flight etc., the survey brought out.
The other aspects captured by the survey includes a vast majority of consumers (67 per cent) preferring more locally sourced items going forward even if they cost a bit more while 71 per cent prefer brands that responded well during the pandemic.
The other findings of the survey indicate consumers' intent to stick to their current vehicles for a longer period than they had originally expected (71 per cent), which has been a consistent trend globally.
As many as 61 per cent consumers put off regular maintenance for their vehicle, while 47 per cent consider their car doesn't need replacement. Also, over the next three months, consumers plan to limit use of public transit (71 per cent) and ride-hailing (63 per cent).
The recent developments have brought about a shift in plans to travel for leisure and business. About 46 per cent feel safe staying in a hotel while 48 per cent feel safe while travelling.
Global State of the Consumer Tracker is a survey using an online panel where consumers over 18 years are invited to complete a questionnaire (translated into local languages) via an email. It is fielded in 18 countries (targeting 1,000 people per country/wave) and is designed to be nationally representative of the overall population in each market.
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