Is the pandemic over now? Is normal consumer behavior about to happen?

Consumer

Going by the data, it’s not. And a few parts of the country have been witnessing a surge in the Covid cases including Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Assam. For the rest of India, it looks like we are under a tight vigil amidst fear. And amid this reality, consumers are looking up to revenge travels, shopping and dressing syndrome.

This is happening in the truest sense. During one of my chats with my friend, it revealed how badly she yearns for shopping. With her office reopening, she is finding her wardrobe just not enough to provide an every day’s office schedule. I’m certain that this consumer sentiment is getting stronger now everywhere. In fact, consumers have been showing a greater appetite for consumption in most states with guards off. YouGov, a market research and data analysts firm recently said consumer spending in urban India will be better than last year’s festive season owing to reasons like prolonged stay-home period. This is good news for businesses but is this good news here to stay? Difficult or rather impossible prediction!

I feel, the consumption patterns post the horrendous April-June quarter have been driven by mostly two factors-pent up demand and revenge shopping. Not only have these multiple lockdowns deprived us of social gatherings, but it has also made us more adventurous and willing to take risks as far as dressing up is concerned for actual occasions. And taking a cue from the photos from Delhi’s Promenade Mall, people are dressing up like never before. Not only does this hint at the brewing mindset among millennials and Gen-Z, but it also points to the shift in consumer behaviour as a whole.

Another recent report released by Flipkart in association with Bain titled, ‘How India Shops Online In 2021,’ said, “Indian e-retail market saw a 25 per cent growth in FY21 despite the two-month national lockdown and multiple prolonged disruptions”.  The report findings revealed the growth rate of women shoppers was 1.5-2 times higher than that of men in 2020. While tier-2 and small towns contributed to 80 per cent of new customer growth in 2020. All of these statistics point to the outstanding growth of online shopping trend-where smaller cities have been contributing greatly.

And, if we look at the macroeconomic level, statistics are saying the worst is over. A recently published Moneycontrol report said real GDP rose 20.1 per cent in the first quarter (April-June) of 2021-22. If we remember, GDP had contracted by 24.4 per cent in the April-June quarter a year ago, when a nationwide lockdown was imposed to contain the Covid spread. It was the steepest quarterly economic contraction in independent India’s history.

However, the medical fraternity has been constantly reminding or rather warning citizens not to lower guard against the deadly virus and we all should maintain Covid appropriate behaviors. They are also of the opinion that, even if there has been an increase in the numbers of the Covid cases recently in a few parts, it shouldn’t necessarily cause deaths and hospitalisations like the earlier cases. So, can a balance be maintained between the market surge and pandemic control? Again, a million-dollar question!

In our September edition of Consumer VOICE, we bring to you interesting topics including the best tomato ketchup brand, best laptop to buy, besides FSSAI’s CEO column on hygiene rating eateries. Let us know how you like our stories at info@consumer-voice.org

Happy Reading!
Sharmila Das
Editor

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