Business Today

Growth's back, consumer confidence isn't

The Indian economy has staged a spectacular recovery, but the Indian consumer is still battling the blues.

     Print Edition: February 7, 2010

The Indian economy has staged a spectacular recovery, but the Indian consumer is still battling the blues. A Nielsen Consumer Confidence Survey in the fourth quarter of 2009 reveals that confidence of Indians remains shaken by the slowdown. On a host of parameters, Indians are less optimistic about the future compared to the previous survey in the third quarter of 2009.

"They are still worried about the time it will take for things to get better. Until consumers are reassured that recovery is going to accelerate and they can finally call economic slowdown a thing of the past, they are going to be cautious," says Vatsala Pant, Director, Client Solutions, Nielsen. Interestingly, the Indian consumer's response is in contrast to the global trend.

The Nielsen survey shows that globally consumers have become more optimistic about their countries emerging stronger from the recession. Says Pant: "In the third quarter of 2009, Indian consumers had started believing that the worst was over, but runaway food prices and high grocery bills have now added to their worries." And with inflation rising steadily, it appears unlikely that there will be immediate respite for the Indian consumer.

THE KEY FINDINGS

  • 41 per cent Indians think it's an appropriate moment to buy things; a slide of 10  per cent  from previous survey.
  • 40 per cent Indians will put their spare cash into stocks or mutual funds; down 4  per cent .
  • 50 per cent Indians still believe that the economy is in a recession; unchanged from the previous survey.
  • 78 per cent Indians are optimistic about the state of their personal finances over the next 12 months; down 3  per cent  from the third quarter.
  • 17 per cent Indians are worried about rising food prices; up from 14  per cent . This was the biggest concern for Indians in the fourth quarter of 2009.

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