Consumers in India are now focused on their most basic needs while cutting back on nonessentials, according to a new report from Accenture.

A survey found that 90% of consumers are making lasting changes to how they live, work and shop – signalling a need for consumer brands to embrace new approaches for the long-term rather than wait to return to pre-pandemic strategies.

As many as 85% of consumers in India said that they are shopping more health-consciously and are focusing more on limiting food waste. Personal hygiene habits are also seeing a dramatic change with 48% of consumers increasing purchases of personal hygiene products while cutting down on discretionary products.

In addition, 75% of consumers said they are being more cost-conscious when shopping for products and 71% feel that quality, safety and trust are the most considered brand attributes in purchase decisions.

Accenture noted that brands will need to explore ways to rebuild consumer confidence frayed by the pandemic – proof of good hygiene and safety is becoming a key part of a brand’s ability to retain shoppers’ trust.

Anurag Gupta, MD and Lead - Strategy & Consulting, Accenture in India, observed that the pandemic has taken a toll on brand loyalty.

“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,” he said.

Interestingly, 74% of Indian consumers are buying locally sourced products, while nearly 80% of those surveyed want to shop at neighbourhood stores.

“Brands also need to look at ways to tap into the opportunities resulting from the demand for local and the emergence of the home as the new hub,”
 Gupta added.

In separate survey conducted by CPM India on kiranas (small retail) and independent self-service stores, a sharp increase in sales was reported with 44% of the respondents reporting greater than 25% increase in sales. The lockdown has helped retailers increase their customer base with 60%  nationally reporting an increase in new customers.

The report found that consumer loyalty is on an all-time low, with an increasingly high number of people willing to forgo associations with brands if the choice presents itself. In addition, as consumers continue to value the proximity of stores, and become reluctant to adhere to specific brands alone, the role of kiranas will become much more significant.

The Accenture COVID-19 Consumer Pulse Research report polled 2,500 consumers in India among 45,000 respondents globally, between March and June 2020.

Sourced from LiveMint, ETBrandEquity, Indian Retailer, Financial Express