Deloitte: Half of Indians worried about losing their job

25 June 2020 3 min. read

Indian consumers are the most anxious in the world about Covid-19, according to Deloitte analysis that uses concern about health and finances as indicators for consumer anxiety. More than half of Indian consumers are worried about losing their jobs. 

Deloitte’s analysis is based on responses from more than 1,000 Indian consumers, surveyed every two weeks since mid April. Indian consumers have consistently been the most anxious when compared to the global market, and the study finds that this anxiety has been steadily on the rise in recent weeks.

Lockdown has now been lifted in India, which has driven a spike in health anxiety. Meanwhile, economic conditions are far from stable in the country, as a significant portion of the business environment was affected by supply chain disruptions and travel restrictions within the domestic market.

Deloitte uses a quadrant of financial anxiety and health anxiety to rank overall consumer anxiety across the globe. At present, Indians rank highest in the financially insecure and health anxious quadrant, with Chile and Mexico trailing by some distance.

Countries ranked by anxiety score

Health concerns appear to be dominant in India. There has been an unprecedented spike in Covid-19 cases in the country since the lockdown was lifted at the end of last month, with the number of new cases per day reaching their highest level, and the total cases surpassing the 400,000 mark.

According to the Deloitte research, more than 70% of Indian consumers are concerned about their own health, while nearly 80% are concerned about the health of loved ones. At the same time, while the government hoped that lifting the lockdown would spur economic activity, most consumers plan to be more subdued in their spending over coming months.

Consumer priorities appear to have shifted to some extent, and most are focused on the basics. As a result, spending on essentials such as groceries and medicines is expected to remain steady. Other areas that will see steady (or even increasing spending) include home products, mobile data, and other facilitators of remote working conditions.

Speaking to Moneycontrol, Deloitte India partner and leader of its Consumer Industry vertical Anil Talreja said that the new reliance on the virtual is also increasing online video consumption and streaming – a trend that has been noted by other research recently. However, most Indians are still refraining from spending the big bucks.

Health and financial matrix

As the severe economic impact of the crisis unfolds, more than 50% of Indian consumers are worried about losing their jobs, pinpointed the research. Nearly half of all respondents are also concerned about crucial upcoming payments, such as rent, credit card bills and mortgage payments. As a result, more than 60% have delayed large purchases.

“This trend shows that consumers are consciously spending right now, carefully evaluating need versus wants of products and services in the current lockdown state,” said Talreja.

Other trends that have been noted include a shift to ecommerce, which was predictable as consumers are weary of going to public places for their shopping needs. Similar concerns are also driving a preference for private vehicles over public transport. Medicines and alcohol appear to be the exception here, as the former need to be personally checked before purchasing and the latter is affected by product quality and temperature factors.