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44% consumers think their income in next 6 months will be lower than pre-COVID levels: BCG report

The COVID-19 consumer sentiment research by the Boston Consulting Group was conducted between July 20 and August 2 among 3,000 urban consumers.

Even though the Coronavirus pandemic has continued to worsen in India, the consumer sentiment is beginning to get a little better, as per Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) latest round of consumer sentiment survey. It was conducted between July 20 and August 2 among 3,000 urban consumers (covering all socio-economic groups across metros to Tier-IV cities).

This is the fifth round of survey conducted by the BCG. The overarching theme emerging from the latest survey is one of ‘cautious living’, with consumers beginning to feel that it is time that they need to resume their activities, albeit with a lot of caution.

As per the latest survey, 44% of the consumers think their income in the next six months will be lower than pre-COVID levels – significantly lower than 57% in the last round conducted over May 18-23. Similarly, the sentiment about spending is beginning to look better. The latest round had 42% consumers expecting their spends over the next six months to be lower, as compared to 53% in the last round.

There is also a pick up in routine activities, with 53% consumers stating that they have been going out to work, and 66% consumers saying that they have been visiting friends in the latest round, as against 15% and 10% respectively in the last round. The majority of the consumers, however, say that the frequency of most of these activities is still not at the pre-COVID levels.

The extent of revival is much faster in smaller cities. Across metrics, Tier-II and below towns show faster pick-up. For example, 52% of the consumers in metros and Tier-I cities think their income will be lower, while only 41% in Tier-II and below think the same. Similarly, 36% of small town consumers are going to local markets for essentials shopping as much as they used to pre-COVID, as compared to 27% in metros and Tier-I cities.

44% consumers think their income in next 6 months will be lower than pre-COVID levels: BCG report

The spending sentiment has improved across many categories. While essentials, health, in-home entertainment continue to be winners, there is an uptick in sentiment across many semi-essentials like personal care, packaged food, as well as discretionary items like apparel, cosmetics, auto, consumer electronics. Travel and out-of-home entertainment, on the other hand, continue to show little to no improvement.

44% consumers think their income in next 6 months will be lower than pre-COVID levels: BCG report

The strong acceleration in e-commerce continues. As per the survey, around 20% new users have been added to the universe of online shoppers in the last 3-4 months. Many categories have seen an even faster acceleration – with fresh foods and staples seeing up to 40-50% new users.

There is also an increase in the average number of categories bought online – increasing from four to almost six per user. Similarly, there are up to 30% new users of healthy food, and 20% new users of fitness-related activities. The study also shows that 64% of the consumers have started doing their grooming regimes – haircut, waxing, hair colour, etc. – themselves. The proportion among affluent and elite consumers is even higher, at 80-90%.

The full report is attached below:

COVID-19 India Consumer Sentiment Survey_Wave 5 vf.pdfDownload