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NEW DELHI : Households across urban and rural India reported only an incremental increase in spending across essential products, while fewer families spent more on buying discretionary items in February, according to findings of a monthly Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI) survey by Axis My India, released on Tuesday.

“The period of February reveals a pocket-sized increase in consumption across overall household products, necessary products, health products and media viewing habits. Increase in consumption of discretionary products and mobility remain the same as last month. Return to steady normalcy continues to mirror consumer sentiments for the upcoming months," Axis My India said as part of its findings.

The sentiment index monitors five sub-indices—overall household spending, spending on essential and non-essential items, spending on healthcare, media consumption habits and mobility trends.

Overall household spending increased for 54% of families in February which reflects a 1% increase from the last month. This increase was majorly reflected in the eastern part of India, it added.

Spends on essential products like personal care and household items increased for 43% of the families, similar to January levels. This increase is majorly reflected in the Western part of India. Spends on essential items, however, remained the same for 38% of the families.

Axis My India surveyed over 10,151 people. Of these, 70% were from rural India, while 30% were from urban India. Of those surveyed, 63% of the respondents were male, while 37% of the respondents were female.

Meanwhile, spending on non-essential and discretionary products like air conditioners, car, and refrigerators increased for 8% of families, a slight dip of 2% from the previous month when more families purchased these items. Expenditure on such high-ticket items remained at similar levels of January for 87% of the families.

Consumption of media increased for 22% of the families surveyed—a 2% decrease from the last month. This surge is reflected among 18–35-year-olds in northern and eastern part of India.

Additionally, 90% of families surveyed said they are spending on short vacations, mall and restaurant visits. Increased travel is reflected only among 5% of families while 5% reported reduced mobility.

“With greater relaxation from the government in terms of mobility and increased encouragement from corporates to return to physical setting, we can witness the country’s effort to go back to the ‘old normal’. Consumers are spending where necessary and exercising ‘very mild’ caution on discretionary expenditures or mobility habits," said Pradeep Gupta, CMD, Axis My India.

Consumption of health-related items, on the other hand, more or less remained the same for 49% of the families; 35% of those surveyed reported a jump in such expense.

“The health score which has a negative connotation i.e., the lesser the spends on health items the better the sentiments, has a net score value of -19 as compared to -20 last month. This signifies persisted apprehension for overall health and well-being of the consumers," according to the survey findings.

 

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