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Consumers expected to continue spending on essentials, health, and in home entertainment

BCG has unveiled the latest round of consumer sentiment survey, conducted over May 23-28, 2021 among 4000 consumers. The survey covers all socio-economic groups across urban and rural India.

As per the latest survey, 58% of consumers think their income in the next 6 months will be lower than pre-COVID levels – higher than 44% in the last round conducted over July last year. Similarly, the sentiment about spending has been impacted. The latest round had 51% consumers expecting their spends over the next 6 months to be lower compared to 40% in the last round.

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However, there are certain positive themes too:

Some categories have continued to show positive sentiment e.g. essentials, health, in home entertainment continue to be winners
“There is an impending sense of uncertainty however we have observed certain positive messages too. The spending sentiment has not been impacted similarly across categories. Essentials, health, in home entertainment continue to be winners. Some of the discretionary categories, however, have been negatively impacted.”– said Nimisha Jain, Managing Director and Partner, BCG India.

Many of the newly adopted behaviors ranging from social commerce, online shopping, digital content, digital payments have continued to stick even through the period when the situation was looking a bit better and the lockdowns were no longer in place

“Now that we have been into the crisis for over a year, the shape of new normal for consumer behavior is also beginning to emerge. Many of the newly adopted behaviors ranging from social commerce, online shopping, digital content/ payments – have continued to stick. However, others like ‘do it yourself’ regimes, online doctor consultations have showed high sensitivity to the pandemic situation” – said Kanika Sanghi, Lead, Centre for Customer Insight for BCG India.

There has been a significant increase in the willingness to take vaccine post 2nd wave – especially in small towns and rural areas which had shown high levels of hesitancy/ indifference earlier. 78% of the eligible consumers in large towns said that they were very willing to take the vaccine now – compared to 62% earlier. The same % for rural stands as 63% now compared to 41% earlier.

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BCG’s COVID-19 consumer sentiment research is based on a global survey which is currently covered in both developed and emerging markets. It is fielded in waves to provide a longitudinal view of consumer sentiments about the coronavirus pandemic, and changes in consumer consumption behavior.

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