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 30-day analysis-based consumer survey by Deloitte. The survey said that with respect to India, which is seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 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% of the consumers were buying medicines online. It was also seen that electronics was at 34%, clothing at 33%, online food from restaurants/take-aways again at 33%, and if available, the next vehicle online at 57% due to the various restrictions.
But during the second wave of the pandemic, the consumption pattern of consumers brings 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% consumers show net spending intent towards healthcare, 33% towards medicines, 42% towards internet, 47% towards groceries and 44% 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 pilers (63%), convenience seekers (69%) and bargain hunters (51% 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% today worry about returning to their offices, as compared to 15% 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 the workplace, taking a flight etc., the survey brought out.
The other aspects captured by the survey includes a vast majority of consumers (67%) preferring more locally sourced items going forward even if they cost a bit more while 71% 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%), which has been a consistent trend globally.
As many as 61% consumers put off regular maintenance for their vehicle, while 47% say their car doesn't need replacement. Also, over the next three months, consumers plan to limit use of public transit (71%) and ride-hailing (63%).
The recent developments have brought about a shift in plans to travel for leisure and business. About 46% feel safe staying in a hotel while 48% 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 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.