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Nielsen releases data on how Covid-19 impacts Indian consumer behaviour

At a virtual press meet, Nielsen unveiled findings related to consumer behaviour in light of India's lockdown and the Coronavirus outbreak.

Nielsen has released its findings on consumer behaviour patterns in light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic that is rapidly spreading across the nation. The presentation threw light on which product groups are being heavily consumed during the worldwide pandemic and how these product groups have grown as a result of this. To begin with, the buzz around the Coronavirus began on social media in the first week of March, when fear of transmission rose, thanks to a flurry of activity on social media, consumption of certain groups of personal hygiene products shot up as well.

The difference is stark when it comes to comparing growth numbers from last year to growth numbers in the month of March alone, as a result of the virus. Hand sanitiser sales in India grew a whopping 290 per cent, up from 27 per cent in the first week of March. Nielsen splits consumer behaviour into three broad categories based on the timeline of the virus outbreak in India. In the first category, consumer behaviour in the awareness stage was discussed. This was the stage from the end of Februray towards the first of March. The first confirmed Covid-19 case had been reported in Kerala and discussions on the topic had begun to pop on social media. However, there is a clear gap in consumer awareness of behaviours that can stop the virus (behaviours such as washing hands with soap and water and avoiding social gatherings) and consumer implementation of these behaviours.

In March, e-commerce as a platform was heavily utilised since some of these supplies became unavailable at retail stores. In the second stage - purchase trends were tracked. When India announced the lockdown, the third stage of consumer buying - taking precautionary measures, was discussed at length. There was a surge in demand for medical items like disposable gloves, masks, and over the counter medicines such as paracetamol tablets, antihistamine tablets like Allegra and cough syrup.