New Delhi: As India undertakes the world’s largest vaccination program to counter Covid-19 and more business places open up, the Indian consumers are optimistic about the revival of the economy and their lives. Capturing these insights in ‘Preparing for the post-covid-19 world: India consumer sentiment tracker’. Conducted over a period of 8 months, i.e., June 2020-Jan 21, the survey highlights the evolving Indian consumer sentiment along with a specific focus on industries such as retail, travel, and digital payments. Moreover, it also compares these trends vis-à-vis other APAC markets. The survey sums up that Indians are more optimistic compared to their APAC counterparts on almost all counts.
It is observed that while there are concerns there is also the confidence to step out more than earlier due to the ongoing vaccination program. Indians have showcased more readiness to travel, be at social events, or eating out. The study also shows that during the lockdown, the common concerns around the region were healthcare, livelihood, economy, and children’s education which could impact most respondents’ personal finances. 42% of the respondents said that their personal finances remained same or became better as before the COVID impact. Out of the remaining 58%, nearly half the Indian consumers interviewed at this time were certain that their financial status would return to pre-Covid- 19 level within six months. In contrast, APAC markets remained pessimistic, with only 29% who felt the same.
One of the reasons for this Indian optimism could be the age-old values of ‘saving for a rainy day’. The survey shows that ‘Saving Income’ is on top priority among Indians (65%) in comparison to the rest of APAC (47%). 43% of Indians will be spending less on non-essential items, 32% will rotate credit and 31% will buy on installments, even as we see the green shoots of recovery.
A blessing in disguise during the tough times was changing the digital habits of Indian consumers. With a focus on safety, hygiene, and convenience, there was a sudden uptake of ordering digitally and paying in a contactless way. Apart from day-to-day items like grocery, which was traditionally an offline purchase, 64% of Indians also bought online education solutions and 52% ordered health & wellness products and services. In fact, 58% of Indian respondents intend to increase their usage of contactless payments such as debit and credit cards, prepaid cards, and mobile wallets, which shows their comfort with the digital ecosystem. Not only that, but 81% of Indian respondents believe that contactless payment is a trend here to stay. Moreover, 2 out of 3 Indians feel secure making online payments which are 10% higher than other regions in APAC.
Another key takeaway is that after a long time of being under lockdown and working from home, Indian consumers are looking forward to traveling for leisure and meet their loved ones. 71% of Indian respondents are open to or want to travel domestically for leisure within 2021, which highlights their positive sentiment towards normalcy.
Elaborating upon the key findings of the survey, Manasi Narasimhan, Vice President, Marketing and Communication, South Asia, Mastercard said, “Mastercard is delighted to see the optimism in overall consumer sentiment – a sentiment Mastercard has been making a conscious and diligent effort to understand during the pandemic period. These insights enable Mastercard to play a meaningful role in economic recovery by providing safe, secure, and low-cost digital payment methods, as our digital and physical worlds immerse in unique ways. Moreover, Mastercard works with other players in the ecosystem to enable consumers to get the best out of their travel, leisure, and other experiences.”
To support this sentiment; Mastercard brought its Priceless™ Cities Program to India which will enable domestic and global travelers to attain exclusive access to several unparalleled experiences in the country through their Mastercard cards. Mastercard has been actively working towards driving acceptance for digital payments in India through a varied range of solutions to help merchants and payment aggregators. The company is enabling ease of payments for them to help them grow their businesses efficiently. Through numerous partnerships for bringing new co-branded cards, contactless solutions, and safeguarding digital payments, Mastercard is continuously trying to make the overall spending experience for consumers more gratifying.