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Coronavirus Lockdown | Consumers struggling to get hand-sanitisers, face masks: Nielsen India survey

Around 22 percent consumers found ready to eat (noodles,upma) out of stock. A similar percentage of customers did not find salty snacks.

April 20, 2020 / 02:21 PM IST

While hand retailers are facing severe constraints of stock replenishment, customers are finding essentials, salty snacks, dairy products and hygiene items out of stock as well.

The desired category/brand was found to be out of retail stock during shopping trips.This was true even for essentials and hygiene categories.

As per the survey conducted by Nielsen India, around 15 percent of consumers found grocery essentials (atta, rice, lentils, pulses, oil, ghee) out of stock and 14 percent found dairy products such as milk, cheese and curd out of stock.

Around 22 percent consumers found ready to eat (noodles, upma etc.) out of stock. A similar percentage of customers did not find salty snacks.

A representative of an online panel of consumers was accessed by Nielsen India to find their perception and behaviour around the current scenario. The panel polled 1,330 urban citizens between April 10-14.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Despite most companies manufacturing hand-sanitisers, 31 percent consumers did not find it and 30 percent customers struggled to find face masks and gloves.

Customers are struggling to find products as retailers are struggling to replenish the stock as visits of company salespersons are severely hit due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

From an average of 10 visits in a week, the retailers stated that now there were just two visits, on an average, during the lockdown period - according to the survey.

A survey was canvassed among 1,240 grocers and chemists from all across the country (survey period was 6-12 April 2020). Around 65 percent of sampled grocers and 35 percent chemists were procuring goods at higher rates from wholesalers in the absence of regular visits by salespeople.

This resulted in eight out of 10 retailers not receiving adequate stock of products, resulting in some bit of stock outs.

The restricted living and operating conditions caused by the pandemic has brought severe challenges around supply chain logistics, maintaining production runs and stringent regulations and restrictions that outlines the top challenges on the supply and demand side that the industry leaders have lived with over the last few weeks.

“In the past one month, 100 percent corporates cited challenges faced on the supply chain front and also faced mobility issues, while 50 percent corporates said they faced production capacity shortage,” Sameer Shukla, West market leader, Nielsen Global Connect, South Asia, said.

In such an unprecedented situation, corporates are taking proactive steps to sustain and maintain financial health. Redefining distribution strategy, and innovative ways to manage cash flow were cited as immediate top actions.

Many corporations are planning to review their 2020 strategy especially around R&D and product distribution.
Himadri Buch
first published: Apr 20, 2020 02:21 pm