With most businesses around the country shut or operating in a limited manner as a part of one of the largest nationwide lockdowns, consumer spending behaviour in India has changed significantly since March owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s largest online wealth management app, ETMONEY has unveiled a first-of-its-kind report based on the analysis of spends data of its users from March-June 2020.
Interestingly, the overall spend during these four months has reduced by nearly 40% from that of last year, with more Indians adopting digital mode of payments and UPI being the most preferred amongst them. The report has grouped consumer spends into four major categories – household expenses, cash withdrawals, discretionary expenses & fixed expenses and sheds light on spends in each category.
The significant dip in household spends in April ‘20 was on account of supply chain disruption and only delivery of essentials being allowed during the nationwide lockdown. Indians have also been cut back on their monthly household budgets given the income uncertainty.
Similarly, movement restriction and the fear of using paper currency had the biggest impact on cash as a preferred mode of payment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall discretionary spending has come to a grinding halt with entertainment, travel and dining out/food delivery seeing the sharpest drop due to the lockdown, coupled with a general nationwide fear regarding income and health. Due to the shutdown of restaurants & a general fear among people regarding outside food, the spends in this category has taken one of the highest reductions during the lockdown. Indians reduced their spends to <20% of last year during the past 4 months.
With all means of outdoor entertainment under lockdown, spends on this category has been reduced to <40% of last year. Further, the data shows that Indians are preferring to spend on in-house entertainments like OTTs & Video-games.
After a big dip in April, spending on shopping has recovered to 63% level in June as the shops opened across the country. Indians are also preferring to shop more online considering the dual factors of convenience and heavy discounting.
Finally, with offices & business activities shutdown & all means of leisure travel being stopped, travel has taken the biggest hit in spends during the lockdown. Spends on this category has reduced to <5% of last year. According to some reports, while travel was the first sector to get impacted, it might be the last to recover.
For EMI payments, the dip in April could be attributed to the EMI moratorium facility extended by the RBI. Dip in rent is largely due to singles vacating premises and heading back home during the lockdown. Payouts for Insurance have also seen a dip in June largely due to increased premiums.
Speaking on the launch of the report, ETMONEY Founder-CEO Mukesh Kalra said, “As the nationwide lockdown has been eased, it’s important to introspect on how we reacted to this health crisis – both as a nation and as an individual. Except for the few consumers reporting a decline in income, or those personally affected by the crisis, net intent on spending has been largely conservative in the past couple of months. This points at a healthy intent to conserve and invest capital wisely in uncertain times and is a great move for the nation as a whole. At ETMONEY, we foresee a shift towards remote learning, online personal fitness and other hobbies acquired during the lockdown, with most Indians emerging from this crisis as savvier and more financially responsible individuals.”