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New Delhi: People emerging from the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic are “reimagining" their behaviour and values as consumers -- a move that is set to shift their expectations from brands and companies, Accenture said in a new report, released on Wednesday.

Accenture surveyed over 25,000 consumers in 22 countries of which 2,000 were surveyed in India for its 16th annual research report titled “Life Reimagined: Mapping the motivations that matter for today’s consumers".

A significant 59% of consumers in India said they would switch retailers if they did not offer new fast and flexible delivery options of goods such as click-and-collect and curbside pickup.

Consumers, said Accenture, are prioritizing their needs beyond price and quality to include health and safety, service and personal care, ease and convenience, product origin, and trust and reputation.

71% of those surveyed in India are coming out of the pandemic having reimagined their behaviours and values as consumers. "They have re-evaluated what is important to them in life and are increasingly focused on their personal purpose," Accenture said. Such consumers are far more conscious of what goes into a product and how it’s produced.

81% in India say they are attracted to brands that source services and materials in highly ethical ways. Additionally, 78% are attracted to doing business with brands that are environment-friendly, it said.

Meanwhile, 22% of those surveyed in India reported “evolving" values and purchasing mindsets. Only 7% of respondents said the pandemic has had no impact on the buyer values.

Accenture analysed over 80 factors across 14 industries that drive consumer purchase decisions. Of these, five are now central to how consumers are likely to consume going forward. 

“A majority of consumers across demographics and geographies are reimagining their values and basing purchasing decisions on factors beyond price and quality," Accenture said.

Health and safety ranked high in importance for most consumers. In India, close to 80% said health and safety is crucial and that companies prioritize health considerations for consumers and employees in all operations. 78% of those surveyed said companies and brands are just as responsible as governments for the health of societies.

Moreover, 68% of reimagined consumers in India say that many companies disappointed them by not providing enough support and understanding of their needs during challenging times.

As a result, in a post-pandemic economy the C-Suite will need to ensure all aspects of operations including marketing, sales, innovation, R&D and customer service are tailored to understand new consumer motivations, said Vineet R. Ahuja, managing director and lead, consumer, sales and service, Accenture in India.

Consumers are also looking for more “personalized" experiences.

“More than half of reimagined consumers in India say they would switch brands if a brand doesn’t create clear and easy options for contacting customer service or provide clear responses about service levels related to pandemic or economic and societal issues," the findings said.

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