Consumption habits in the COVID-19 era have gone through some distinct changes. On one hand, the average Indian consumer is much more cautious about spends, and on the other hand, her desire to buy brands and products which are good for the society and environment are at an all-time high. The Swadeshi culture is also gathering steam, as the Indian consumer increasingly wants to buy made in India products, and is also willing to pay a premium for them. If the made in India brand is customised to the individual consumer's needs, that's the ultimate.
Indians have always believed in saving for a rainy day, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further strengthened their belief in saving. One can't afford to live by the day especially in the context of a black swan event like the current pandemic which has not just taken away lives, but also livelihoods. A recent report by KPMG on consumption habits of Indian consumers (Me, My Life, My Wallet), says that more than 85 per cent of consumers want to continue saving despite a 10 per cent fall in income. 78 per cent of Generation X (37-53-year-olds) and 70 per cent of millennials (17-36-year-olds) are more concerned about their finances in the new normal.
Be it beauty, food or even apparel brands, customisation is the way forward for all of them. This trend also comes through in the KPMG report, where 81 per cent of the respondents expect personalised customer service. In fact, it is the Gen-X consumer (88 per cent) which is seeking higher levels of customisation than the millennials. In order to offer better customised services, brands need greater access to consumers' personal data and that's where the dichotomy is. Only 33 per cent of consumers are willing to share their personal data, 45 per cent of consumers place protection of their personal data as the most important element they expect from companies. Around 40 per cent of metro consumers and 30 per cent of non-metro consumers have said that a brand's data privacy policies play a huge role in their purchasing decisions.
Digital payments are becoming a way of life in the COVID era. The KPMG report says that close to 50 per cent of Indians are comfortable using a digital mode of payment, as against 22 per cent globally. Around 60 per cent expect retailers to offer better digital experiences such as augmented and virtual reality. While millennials' preference for ecommerce isn't surprising, what stands out is that 56 per cent of them even expect their neighbourhood stores to also offer them online services.
The KPMG report says that 84 per cent of the respondents prefer buying from brands whose actions align with their core beliefs and values, 94 per cent are willing to pay a premium for a brand which gives back to the society (as against 90 per cent globally).
Indian consumers increasingly want to buy products and brands that are made in India. The craze for global brands is gradually fading. Around 60 per cent respondents across all age-groups in the KPMG survey expressed their desire to replace foreign brands with indigenous brands, 41 per cent are willing to pay a premium.
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