March 18

With Discretionary Spends in a Freeze, Indian Retailers Catch a Cold

By Alnoor Peermohamed & Rasul Bailay

Sales of smartphoneselectronics, apparel, home appliances and furnishing have taken a beating due to the Covid-19 virus outbreak, as Indian consumers stay at home and cut back on discretionary spending in an already sluggish market.

Several consumer brands, retailers and sector analysts told ET that demand has dropped palpably, except food and grocery sales, which are on the up due to uncertainties around stockouts and store closures as infections spread across the country.

Calling it an “unprecedented” situation, several executives and analysts said that a prolonged shutdown of retail stores would further affect the purchasing power of consumers.

“Right now it’s a lack of sentiment to buy, but if this doesn’t clear up by mid-April, it’s going to be a situation of inability to buy,” said a senior analyst at one of the leading global consultancy firms, who did not want to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Photo courtesy of Peter Haden.

Source: Economic Times (link opens in a new window)