Demystifying Indian Consumer Behaviour

Buoyed by past economic growth, Indians have ambitions to live debt-free, own a home, and are optimistic the economy will recover strongly from COVID-19 in 2022.
Demystifying Indian Consumer Behaviour

Indian consumers are undergoing a fundamental change in behaviour driven by a desire for a better, more balanced quality of life, with a focus on health, safety, and more family time. Here are the future market trends, a shift in consumer behaviour, the impact of COVID-19 on Indian consumer lifestyle, and recommendations by experts on how to own these changes.

Market Trends
 
•  Due to the pandemic, over half of Indians give a higher priority to supporting their local community to help revive the economy by supporting products that are 'Made in India’ which in turn will help homegrown brands in the post-pandemic period. 
 
•  Despite health being a top goal in 2020, people still face barriers to healthy living. COVID-19 has increased the focus on health and fitness, which brands can leverage to promote healthy eating, natural and organic ingredients, and exercising. 
 
•  Almost three in four Indians want to achieve a better work-life balance to take care of priorities apart from work, like family and health. Brands are already stepping in to help. For example, fitness centre Cult-Fit allows people to exercise and meditate anytime, anywhere through their app to help people balance relaxation and exercise with work and chores. Close to two-thirds of 18-34-year-olds want to spend quality time with their family and friends. Here also brands can market products as catalysts for creating more family time, for instance, portraying snack foods as a focus for family time on different occasions such as picnics, watching TV, and car journeys. 
 
Impact of COVID-19 on Lifestyle of Indian Consumers
 
The slowdown in economic growth has led to people being frugal in their spending patterns, especially for discretionary categories. In the wake of growing work-from-home culture, home care has risen with more focus on appliances as well as furnishings to improve the habitat. Usage of home products like disinfectants, anti-bacterial sprays, veggie washes has spiked in line with the increased focus on hygiene. Food, exercise, mental wellness have become a top priority as people strive for wellness through the crisis. 
 
In the coming 12 months, health will remain an important focus area, with people trying out ways to fit in healthy eating and excercise in their routine as they start stepping out more often. Travel for leisure, especially within the country, is expected to slowly pick up as people yearn to break with staycation being the most popular tourism trend. 
 
Even though COVID-19 has bought a multitude of changes in consumer behaviour, brands can still leverage this by adapting to the ‘new normal’. Brands need to talk about affordable indulgences to help gratify ambitions such as the purchase of appliances and spends on technology. They can promote family activities such as DIY food kits to help ease responsibilities. Playing up the claims around health and hygiene by communicating on the source of ingredients will be the best way to gain the trust of people across ages. 
 
Top 3 Things Indian Consumers Look Forward to in 2021
 
Work-Life Balance: Mintel Trend Driver ‘Experience’ highlights how consumers are seeking experiences and more multi-sensory stimulation in products and services. Driven by ambition for better lives, Indians want a better work-life balance and want to enjoy more quality time with friends/family. This presents an opportunity for brands to help people de-stress and focus on things beyond their work.
 
High Ambitions: According to Mintel's research, buoyed by past economic growth, Indians have ambitions to live debt-free, own a home, and are optimistic the economy will recover strongly from COVID-19 in 2022. To help achieve these goals, brands can partner with consumers by offering financial help through loans and easy payment options.
 
Health and Stability: With a rise in lifestyle diseases as well as mental health issues, people are looking to focus on ways and means to get healthy. The pandemic has been instrumental in accelerating the focus on healthcare and healthy lifestyle. Over four in five Indians think living a healthier lifestyle is important, and a third wants to achieve financial stability and be protected against health threats. Brands can promote product value, safety, and health benefits to appeal to Indians’ budgets and health concerns. 
 
Brands’ strategic planning for 2021 must take these changes into account as everything from home care, convenience shopping, and wellbeing to sustainability, transparency, and value has evolved.

These trends were highlighted by Mintel in their recent report.
 

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