Home/ News / India/  Covid survey: 90% of consumers making lasting changes to how they live, work

NEW DELHI: Covid-19 has led to changes in consumer behaviour and for some in India, these change such as turning more cost conscious, making healthier and environmentally sustainable choices, visiting local stores, shopping online are likely to stick around even after the threat of the pandemic is gone, according to findings of Accenture’s COVID-19 Consumer Pulse research.

This change in turn will have an impact on the consumer goods and retail industries.

The research surveyed 2,500 consumers in India between March and June, and those surveyed were part of the 45,000 consumers surveyed globally by the firm.

A majority of those surveyed in India are making permanent changes to the way they consume, work, and live, the report said. As a result, "there is is no going back to the pre-pandemic world for consumer brands."

"Consumers are now focused on their most basic needs while cutting back on non-essentials. They are more mindful of what they’re buying, striving to limit food waste, shopping more cost consciously and are making healthier and environmentally sustainable choices," according to findings of the survey released on Monday.

Indian shoppers took to panic buying and shopping for packaged food and health and hygiene products as an outcome of the pandemic.

With concerns around personal hygiene exacerbated, nearly 50% of those surveyed said they are increasing their purchases of personal hygiene products. "Personal hygiene habits have changed dramatically, with people hand-washing more often and cleaning surfaces at home more frequently," according to the survey results.

The pandemic has also piqued consumer interest in local, neighborhood stores while helping with swift adoption of online shopping.

"Consumers also remain hesitant to step out of their safety zones to resume previous consumption patterns, are buying local, and embracing digital commerce. The survey found that the pandemic is causing more people to shop for groceries online," the report said.

Some of these changes are set to find a permanent spot in consumer habits especially as several Indians have taken to shopping online thanks to the covid-19 induced lockdowns.

“The demand for local products, digital commerce and omni-channel services such a home delivery, chat features, and virtual consultations is surging, and is likely to endure beyond this crisis," the report said. Interestingly, 74% of Indian consumers are buying locally sourced products. Nearly 80% of those surveyed want to shop at neighborhood stores.

In fact, 75% of consumers said that they're being more cost-conscious when shopping for products.

The pandemic has also shifted consumer loyalty, with consumers now veering more towards brands that are sustainable and healthier for them. Trust is a key factor too.

"The pandemic has taken a toll on brand loyalty and as consumers make more socially and environmentally sustainable and healthy choices, consumer goods companies must tailor their offerings accordingly and refresh their brand promise to meet these new requirements," said Anurag Gupta, managing director and lead, strategy and consulting, Accenture in India.

With the house now becoming the nerve centre—with more people working and studying from home—consumers also took to learning new things, DIY activities, cooking and spent more time on entertainment, leading to a surge in content viewership across platforms.

Moreover, media consumption has increased, 70% are watching more video streaming content and social media usage has gone up by 75%. “Staying in is the new going out. 34% people plan to increase the amount they work from home in the future….Consumers are finding new ways to fill the extra time that many now have at home. Socializing at home is the preferred option in the next 6 months and 71% consumers are connecting virtually with friends," the Accenture report said.

Suneera Tandon
Suneera Tandon is a New Delhi based reporter covering consumer goods for Mint. Suneera reports on fast moving consumer goods makers, retailers as well as other consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and malls. She is deeply interested in what consumers across urban and rural India buy, wear and eat. Suneera holds a masters degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi.
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Updated: 11 Aug 2020, 05:40 PM IST
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