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Consumers remain cautious, retail recovery looks distant: surveys

Published
Jul 23, 2020
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Indian shoppers are cautious about spending money during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and aim to spend less on non-essential goods, such as apparel, which paints a grim picture for retail recovery, studies show. 

Recent India surveys by KPMG and the RAI suggest that the country’s retail recovery will be a long process - Alto Nivel


A total of 78% of respondents to consultancy business KPMG’s recent survey in India said they are reducing their discretionary spending in the ‘new-normal’, the Press Trust of India reported.

KPMG’s India-based study titled, 'Time to open my wallet or not? The new spending patterns emerging from a consumer's perspective', found that shoppers in tier 1 cities were more pessimistic and those in tier 2 and 3 locations were two times more optimistic about their spending. Younger consumers and men were also the most likely groups to spend more when shopping.

The study highlighted tier 2 and 3 locations as potentially lucrative focus areas for retailers. KPMG found that shoppers in tier 3 cities were 1.4 times more likely to spend money on apparel compared to shoppers in tier 1 cities when spending over Rs 5,000 ($66.83).
 
“Overall 51% of respondents feel that the impact of Covid-19 will be short-lived and normalcy is not far,” read the survey, accessed by the Press Trust of India.

Despite over half of surveyed consumers feeling sanguine, the impact that those who remain pessimistic will have on the retail landscape will be significant.
 
Due to the current situation, India’s retail market is expected to face both local and country-wide challenges with hopes for a swift recovery remaining dim, according to a recent business survey by the Retailers Association of India. The traders’ organisation stated in its business survey’s fourth edition that retail recovery is a far-off goal, ET Retail reported. 
 
“It has been a grim start to the second quarter of FY21 with retailers facing huge operational setbacks due to ad-hoc local lockdowns creating confusion and leading to supply chain and staffing issues,” said the RAI’s CEO Kumar Rajagopalan, ET Retail reported.

“Supply chain and operations need to smoothen up to ensure that the upcoming festive season brings back the much-needed impetus to sales recovery.”
 
The RAI has predicted 64% year-on-year de-growth in the country’s retail market for the first half of July, 2020. Although the food and groceries sectors are suffering less, the RAI highlighted the clothing, jewellery, footwear, watches, beauty, and sports goods categories, among others, as areas that are still experiencing growth stagnancy or decreases.

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