In a reflection of the new-normal, 75 percent respondents said regular sanitisation of stores was their most preferred measure to feel safe and secure while shopping
As retailers resume operations in Unlock 1.0, the industry might have to brace itself for a sustained downturn as 67 percent consumers showed little to no excitement in shopping post the lockdown, revealed a consumer sentiment survey, called 'Unlocking Indian Consumer Sentiment Post Lockdown', released by the Retailers Association of India (RAI).
Over 4,000 respondents participated in the survey conducted to understand the likely behaviour and shopping preferences of Indian consumers in a post lockdown environment.
Consumers in the survey exhibited symptoms of caution and conservatism as they were asked to evaluate if, how, when, and where they would like to shop once the lockdown lifts.
The survey revealed that 62 percent of respondents said they were inclined to visit stores within the first three months post lockdown. This number rises to 75 percent in Tier II and Tier III cities.
However, 78 percent said their shopping expenditure would decrease. Only 6 percent said they would increase their spending.
This would mean a slower recovery for the retail sector, which has seen zero revenue and sustained losses over the last few months.
In a reflection of the new-normal, 75 percent respondents said regular sanitisation of stores was their most preferred measure to feel safe and secure while shopping. About 57 percent said they would prefer minimal staff interaction, with 30 percent indicating their preference towards virtual trial rooms.
“With most consumers hesitating to resume shopping in coming months, the retail sector needs the support of all stakeholders to revive sentiment,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India.
“Retailers will need to prioritise safety and hygiene measures to reassure consumers that they will receive a safe shopping experience. Despite a strained quarter, the sector will have to make investments in implementing the necessary safeguards to win back consumer confidence,” Rajagopalan added.
The survey also asked consumers to prioritise their shopping lists. At 52 percent each, food and grocery and apparel and clothing continue to top consumer wish lists.
As consumers were compelled to adapt to their restricted lifestyles, it is not surprising that consumer durables and electronics; beauty, wellness and personal care; and footwear feature in the top five. However, consumers expressed low interest in spending on restaurants, travel, and leisure, as furniture and jewellery, watches and personal accessories were least prioritised.
Even though shopping priorities may have been reordered, it appears that consumers still prefer an in-store experience. About 75 percent of respondents in Tier II and III cities said they would still prefer to buy offline. Respondents in Tier I cities showed an equal preference for online and offline mediums. Even amid the caution and fear, 67 percent of respondents above the age of 45 said they preferred offline over online shopping.The respondents comprised 73 percent men and 27 percent women. More than two-thirds were between the ages of 25 and 44. About 80 percent were from Tier I cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi while the rest were from Tier II and III cities.