Positive consumer sentiments during the festival season this year came as a sigh of relief for retailers across the board after a disastrous first and second quarter of FY21. Although a second wave of the pandemic did dampen sentiments, a recent Edelweiss report says that the early arrival of winter in many parts of the country, along with the wedding season has kept the momentum alive. The report says even quick service restaurants (QSRs) and dine-in restaurants are seeing a steady recovery month-on-month. The revenues of QSR's are at 50 per cent of pre-COVID levels and the business of their delivery arms are at pre-COVID levels
"The mood is certainly better than what it was. Consumers are visiting our stores to shop for winter clothing as well as clothing for children. There are marriages coming up too and that is also driving consumption," agrees Lalit Agrawal, Chairman and MD, V-Mart. Biba, says MD Siddhartha Bindra, saw a lot of shoppers buying festive clothes despite limited opportunities of stepping out. "The overall trend this year has been one of casualisation and we were not expecting people to buy dressy clothes. But consumers are dressing up and celebrating occasions at their homes."
In fact, the demand for atheleisure and products such as socks and inner wear which saw growth all through the pandemic, has plateaued as per the Edelweiss report. Even luxury brands such as Gucci focused on the atheleisure segment with their hoodies and track pants through this year. "However, akin to apparel retailers, innerwear companies with higher share of winter wear are evincing good demand for inners, socks etc," points out the Edelweiss Report.
The pandemic also led to weddings getting cancelled in the first half of the year. These events have now got pushed to the later part of the year, which is surely good news for jewellery brands. "Titan mentioned 15 per cent growth during the festive season (Dusshera to Diwali), bunching up of weddings in November has also helped this. However, industry demand seems to be muted (gold imports in value terms down 48 per cent YoY from April-October) with Titan potentially gaining share (Titan's jewellery segment H1FY21: -26 per cent YoY, plus 15 per cent growth post that), the report says.
However, consumption sentiments are still far from what it was earlier. Agrawal of V-Mart says that it may be better than earlier, but consumers are still skeptical. "People continue to be cautious," he says.