COVID-19 lockdown: Here’s how Indian spending habits have changed

NEW DELHI: The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way the world runs. Here in India, it has left a permanent mark when it comes to customer behavior. People are now becoming more health and hygiene-conscious while also using the time at home to experiment. Due to this, several companies have seen some of their products’ sales surge, sometimes more than twice the amount of sales that occurred in the same period last year.

Here are some of the products and services that have had an increase in demand in the world’s biggest open consumer market.

Comfort foods

Comfort foods

Foods that do not go bad quickly- breakfast cereals, rice, cooking oil and instant noodles have seen sales surge since March. However, stock limitations disrupted the growth in sales for such products.

In fact, Maggi manufacturing company Nestle India saw a 10.7% increase in its total sales in the quarter ending in March 2020. The main drivers of this growth were Maggi, Munk and KitKat sales.

According to Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd, Nestle’s local rival Britannia ‘is emerging as the biggest beneficiary from the disruption, as packaged food consumption is growing strongly, lead by higher in-home consumption.’

Digital Services

online movie streaming

With discouraging face-to-face interactions, people are therefore moving to virtual interactions for both work and leisure.

Educational startup Byju’s has seen its student registration surge three times the usual pace between April and June, it now plans to introduce more courses and subjects in vernacular languages.

On the entertainment front too, it comes as no surprise that domestic content streaming platform ZEE5 has seen a 33% jump in daily active users and a 45% increase in app downloads.

Healthy foods

Healthy foods

Around the world, people are looking to be more health-conscious. Here in India too, we are seeing Ayurveda based products sales surge. For instance, Chayawanprash sales have increased by 283% while branded honey’s market demand rose 39%.

In fact, the amount of money spent on healthy foods is estimated to increase in the next few months.

Appliance sales

home appliances

The newfound spare-time people have at home is being used by using kitchen and hygiene appliances. According to e-commerce major Flipkart, the searches for white goods like mixers, grinders, and toasters increased four times in July while the demand for home-cleaning appliances increased at the same level as against the pre-pandemic levels in the corresponding time last year.

In fact, demand for such products has increased to such a level that companies like IFB have had to suspend new orders for dishwashers as they can’t cope up with demand.

Gold Loans

Gold Loans

This isn’t good news. With the lockdown rendering millions of people jobless and the economy set for a contraction, people have started pawning their gold for money. This is especially true for those people who do not have the time to wait for documents to get processed or are ineligible for government handouts.

This has resulted in a multi-crore bonanza for Muthoot Finance Ltd and Manappuram Finance Ltd. The latter has seen a 4.5% increase in its gold loan growth during the lockdown-affected period as their existing customers have borrowed more.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left us with profound changes in the way we eat, work and play. Let’s hope things get better as soon as possible.