Indian consumers top anxiety list, show maximum wariness about health, job

While these are behavioural shifts that the survey is picking up, they are the consequence of a highly conflicted state of being
Indian consumers are in a state of super anxiety, confused and nervous about their health, jobs and their state of finances which is also reflected in a low-to-negative intent to spend on non-essentials, after the lockdown is lifted. This is the mood captured by a 30-day consumer survey (across 13 nations) by Deloitte India defining the current persona of the India consumer.

Conscious, tech-savvy and keen to turn self-reliant is how the report interprets the data tracked in the survey-based dashboard called Deloitte Global State of the Consumer Tracker. While these are behavioural shifts that the survey is picking up, they are the consequence of a highly conflicted state of being. 
Anil Talreja, partner and Consumer Industry leader, Deloitte India said, “The survey gives a pulse of the consumer behaviour and trend during these challenging times.” The majority of the customers interviewed in the 13 countries that the survey was conducted in showed high levels of uncertainty and nervousness, but Indian customers are on top said Talreja. The tracker has measured customer sentiment in three waves thus far, marking the responses according to different phases in the spread of the virus and the lockdowns imposed by different countries.

 

 
The state of the Indian consumer has been the subject of attention of a number of agencies in recent weeks. And almost all have reported frayed nerves over health and finances. The Deloitte tracker traces the way this apprehension manifests in consumption behaviour (stocking up of groceries, trading down to follow a frugal lifestyle and a nervousness about the future when markets open up). 

The shift in behaviour will force them to stitch together a completely new plan for engagement and recall, points out Talreja. “This will steer consumer product companies to build new strategies around sales and marketing. Building value for brands virtually is going to be another task that companies would need to focus in the future,” he added.
One way brands can navigate their way through the crisis is by keeping the communication simple, functional and direct, according to Talreja. Brands have already done that in some cases, having shelved their old pitches and promotional tactics to adapt to the new state of the customer. 

For instance, PepsiCo India recently announced its association with a small pick-up and delivery start-up Dunzo. In its official note, the global beverage brand stated that it was launching an e-store on the app as part of its direct-to-customer initiative, the tone and pitch a far cry from its routine marketing themes of youth, insouciance and taste. 

On a similar note, a newly released ad for L’Oreal India, the French personal care company is a support guide for salons. No celebrity endorser talking about the efficacy of the product, only a reaffirmation of the core principles of safety and care. In the coming months, this could well be the advertising mantra for many more brands. 


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