scorecardresearch
Download the latest issue of Business Today Magazine just for Rs.49
'Brand loyalty remained high'

'Brand loyalty remained high'

According to Raghav Gupta, president, Technopak, the consumer was more cautious in 2009, but was unwilling to make too many compromises in his lifestyle and purchases.

According to Raghav Gupta, president, Technopak, the consumer was more cautious in 2009, but was unwilling to make too many compromises in his lifestyle and purchases.

What was the effect of zero increments and salary cuts on urban consumption?
Consumption falls into three categories: products and services that are consumed in less than a month, those with a shelf life of a year and items that last for longer periods. The first category suffered the least as products like toothpaste and food are essentials. People cut back more on the other two categories.

Was cost the only purchase motivator in 2009?
Not across all categories. For instance, consumers were willing to downgrade on brands of essential commodities, but not on products with longer shelf lives. So someone who wore Louis Philippe shirts did not shift to a lower price brand like Koutons. Instead, he deferred the purchase till it was feasible to buy the expensive brands.

How did services fare in the downturn?
It mirrored the patterns seen in products. Essential services like education, healthcare and telecom were not affected. However, insurance and wealth management saw slower growth. Aviation was badly hit. International travel was off the itinerary for many people though they took vacations within the country.

Did longer ‘sale’ spells attract more customers?
They definitely resulted in more footfalls and some extra purchases. But whether retailers were able to clear their inventories due to protracted discounts is not known.

Did the slowdown force consumers to be more aware about macro-economic conditions?
Yes, people are definitely more aware and are leveraging the information to get better deals. People always compare prices of a certain section of products, for example, sugar, milk, etc, across various supermarkets and regular stores.

What are the trends to watch out for in 2010?
The choices in mass and premium brands will expand significantly as many global retailers are set to enter the Indian market. Specialty retail will create a lot of buzz as many big brands like Zara will be launched in India.