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Two-thirds of urban Indians plan to use online shopping & delivery services in the future
Saturday, 17 April, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
YouGov’s latest research reveals two-thirds of urban Indians (67 per cent) plan to increase the use of online shopping or delivery services once the pandemic is over.

The ‘International FMCG/CPG report 2021: Consumer goods in a crisis’ provides a high-level analysis of consumers’ attitudes to fast moving/consumer packaged goods across 17 global markets. The white paper is based on more than 18,000 interviews and explores how the Covid-19 crisis has affected the FMCG sector worldwide across a range of categories.

Across all markets, a plurality of consumers said that their shopping habits have altered because of the pandemic, with the highest numbers coming from India (81 per cent) and Mexico (83 per cent).

An average of 81 per cent of consumers across the 17 markets in our study bought groceries or household essentials in-store in the month prior to being asked this question. In India, online shopping of groceries: either through delivery or click and collect services remained as popular as in store purchases during the pandemic.

Online delivery seems to have been much more popular than click and collect services in most of the surveyed markets. In India, there is a 37- percentage point difference between those who bought groceries online using the delivery option 50 per cent and those who picked it up 13 per cent. The lockdown restrictions along with the fear of going to crowded places could have been the key drivers for this behavior.

Looking at the impact of the pandemic on local businesses, three in five consumers 60 per cent across all markets claim to support local businesses and buy local products more once the pandemic subsides. India and Mexico feature as the top countries who plan to do this 75 per cent and 77 per cent respectively. Beyond supporting local businesses, the consumers in both these countries are most likely to buy more sustainable products once the crisis has ended 74 per cent each.

Apart from shopping behaviour, the pandemic has led to changes in FMCG category consumption. The data shows that during the pandemic consumers have responded in different ways across different FMCG categories.

Across all 17 markets, 35 per cent said they eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, while just 6 per cent said they eat less.

In India, two-thirds 66 per cent increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables while only 8 per cent said to have decreased it.

Urban Indians were eating more dairy items 53 per cent while consumption of chilled ready meals remained static 27 per cent increase vs 28 per cent decrease in consumption.

Intake of frozen foods reduced for a third 32 per cent, increasing for 27 per cent, while more people ate bakery good 33 per cent increase vs 28 per cent decrease and food cupboard items 34 per cent vs 23 per cent.  
Consumption of alcohol increased for thee in ten urban Indians 29 per cent. In fact, India 29 per cent and China 27 per cent were the leading markets where people said that they have consumed more alcohol during the pandemic than elsewhere in the world.

Cosmetics appears to have particularly struggled during the crisis: 27 per cent consumers globally said that they are buying fewer products in this category. In India, more than a third 36 per cent reported a decrease in their purchase of personal care/cosmetics products.

On the other hand, as compared to the global average 42 per cent, home-cleaning products performed fairly well in India with a vast majority 70 per cent of respondents saying they have bought more cleaning products during the pandemic.

Deepa Bhatia of YouGov India, said, “The?COVID-19?pandemic has created both challenges and opportunities for brands operating within the broad FMCG sector.?The data highlights significant changes in consumer sentiment and behaviour. Notably, there is a shift to remote purchasing, as well as affinity towards local businesses among urban Indians because of the ongoing crisis.  Whether these changes will be?long-lasting or short-term, remains to be seen,?as we enter the second year of the crisis. In order to stay relevant, FMCG brands need to revisit their well-worn marketing playbooks and adopt new ways of understanding consumer’s changing expectations.”
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