Indian consumers are re-prioritising their spending decisions, according to research firm Kantar, which has released ten key trends it expects to impact consumer behaviour in 2020.

The ten trends identified by Kantar are:

Waiting for the economy to recover

Declining household saving is forcing shoppers to buy smaller packs and cheaper variants of household consumables. Millennials are reluctant to own homes and tighter budgets along with job uncertainty mean that families will put off purchasing homes. The affordability and accessibility of credit, particularly with the entry of digital lending players that offer instant loans, will ease this scenario.

Waiting for deals

Indians are looking at value – 97% of Indian households in 2019 bought at least one consumer packaged goods product on promotion, with overall promotion volumes up by 6.4%. Brands have no option but to find new ways of rewarding smart, well-informed, deal-seeking consumers, as information gathering becomes an integral part of the shopping experience. [85% of consumers check at least two data points other than prices and discounts when purchasing.]

But not waiting to sell

Social commerce platforms like Meesho, GlowRoad, Dealshare, Mall18 will tap into the next wave of online shoppers [200 million] from smaller cities of India with very different behaviour and needs versus the current group. Their transactions are hyperlocal in nature and work by sharing deals over WhatsApp. New platforms are enabling sellers to find buyers by leveraging their social networks. Bulbul and Simsim users interact with sellers during live video streaming and make their purchases immediately.

Waiting for infrastructure

Consumers have embraced technological solutions such as car-pooling and shared bus rides and the shared transportation market will grow to Rs 35,000 crores by 2025. Cities plagued by congestion and infrastructure troubles, such as Mumbai and Bengaluru, are quick adopters. The lack of action towards improving the quality of air is encouraging people to work from home.

Not waiting to deal with waste

22% of Indians say that plastic wastage is the top concern for them environmentally – significantly higher than the global average of 15% – and 53% of Indian consumers will pay more for environment friendly products. A similar proportion are prepared to make changes to their lifestyle for the environment. Expect greater awareness and action around food waste, and trends such as upcycling to take off, spurred by conscious business and activist youth.

Won't wait for the experience

Tighter control over spending does not necessarily mean that consumers are cutting back on experiences. 37% of urban Indians state that they finance experiences by trading down in certain product categories (jewellery, mobile phones, apparel, and home furnishings). Some consumers are optimising their spend by renting kitchen appliances, clothes and furniture; 25% of consumers would consider renting in the future.

Won't shy away from risk

Uncertainty in the social and economic environment has propelled Indian consumers to embrace new opportunities and create alternative futures for themselves. India is now witnessing reverse migration, as second tier cities and state capitals emerge as attractive places due to lower land and home prices, cleaner air and availability of quality education. Consumption-wise, there is rising experimentation with an array of offerings on e-commerce platforms, even as consumers seek ways to mitigate risk of redundancy by reskilling themselves through online courses.

Won't wait for RCEP

Despite the political reluctance to leverage trade opportunities within Asia – Chinese, Japanese and Korean consumer brands will continue to do well. Expect an integration of technology and content in many of these products [from home appliances to automobiles to social platforms, such as TikTok]. While Korean pop culture will capture the imagination of youth across campuses and small-town India, Tokyo’s hosting the Olympics will create greater engagement with Japanese brands.

Will watch and play/relax

Kantar’s mobile gaming study reveals that 76% of the gamers indulge in playing games on their mobile phone more than twice a day and 31% play 4-5 times a day. 70% of gamers spend more than half an hour and 42% spend more than an hour playing mobile games.

Will watch local

An average Indian spends 6.2 hours consuming online content daily. Spending per month on digital media content is expected to grow by 2.5 times. 95% of online video consumption is in Indian languages and Bengali content is growing more than 100% year-on-year in watch time. Marketers will look towards online publishers and media companies to build engagement by learning techniques like Transmedia Storytelling, where single narrative cuts across multiple platforms and formats using available digital technologies.

Sourced from Kantar, Campaign India, AdExchanger; additional content by WARC staff