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India’s consumers prioritse health over retail amid Covid-19 surge: Deloitte

Consumers in India are by and large prioritising health and safety over more discretionary purchases across the retail space, according to research from analysis firm Deloitte.

According to the latest Global Consumer Tracker, India ranks highest among 18 countries in anxiety during the disastrous second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected 320,000 people each day on average in the last week.

Spending intent has dramatically swung toward healthcare products (48 per cent), medicine (33 per cent), household goods (44 per cent) and groceries (47 per cent), with consumers in the region preparing for an ‘at-home economy’, according to research.

“Individuals are not looking to venture out as they do not feel safe about going to a store, restaurant, engaging in in-person activities, staying in a hotel, returning to a workplace, taking a flight, etc,” the report read.

And, due to this shift in consumer focus, the Retailers Association of India on Wednesday asked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to extend the emergency credit line guarantee to retailers who are feeling the brunt of the impact.

“Retail businesses across the country are among the worst hit as several states have mandated lockdown of malls and shopping complexes where most modern retailers operate,” RAI said in a statement.

“The industry is finding it hard to survive through the immense financial stress that is threatening to derail businesses.”

The RAI said failing to support the industry could put 3 million jobs at risk, as well as industries that rely on the retail sector, such as textiles.

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