With the number of daily COVID-19 cases surging and lockdown back in many states, consumers' indulgence in personal hygiene and health products has seen a rise yet again. In fact, the average consumer is far more concerned about health this time round with the rate of infections in the second wave being more intense and widespread.
In fact, products such as surface disinfectants, clothes disinfectants and mouthwash in the past month are more in demand at neighbourhood grocery stores than usual suspects such as detergents and toothpastes, says Ashish Kumar, Co-Founder and COO, of retail tech company, Near Store. Even COVID-19 essentials such as masks, sanitisers and oximeters are flying off shop shelves.
With FMCG companies allowed to distribute products, stores selling essentials are reasonably well stocked. Unlike last year, there aren't too many instances of pantry loading either. However, the lockdown and the uncertainties thereof have pushed consumers to re-prioritise their shopping basket yet again. Bulk of them says, Prem Kumar, Founder and CEO of retail tech company, SnapBizz, are not buying premium FMCG products. "We are seeing an increasing demand of larger packs in categories such as food, snacking products and other essentials."
Demand for not so healthy products such as aerated drinks have dipped. Sale of health drinks, health foods like immunity boosters, protein bars and fruit-based drinks have gone up. As more and more consumers return to the work-from-home regime, consumption of snacks, biscuits and chocolates have also seen a spike. Long hours in front of the computer has also led to an increase in demand for energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster, points out SnapBizz's Kumar.
With restaurants allowed to home-deliver and domestic help also around, one doesn't get to read too much about culinary experiments. However, Kumar of Near Store, says that Maggi Noodles and other ready-to-cook food mixes and frozen foods are among the highest selling SKUs of most retailers.
"We have seen significant demand spikes in recent days. We have also rapidly increased our supply chain capacity in response to the reduction in delivery hours and restrictions on kirana store opening hours in some states," says Ashish Jhina, Co-Founder and COO, Jumbotail.