The Russia-Ukraine crisis and higher cost of living have emerged among the key concerns for Indian consumers in the recently released Kantar’s Global Issues Barometer.

Nearly 38 per cent of respondents from India mentioned war followed by 29 per cent raising economic issues. Climate and environmental issues were also among the top threeconcerns.

However, Covid-19 is no longer seen as a pressing issue like the rest of the world, except in China where lockdowns are just lifting, the study said.

“The war in Ukraine is currently the biggest concern in India like every geographic region surveyed. As expected, the concern is much lower than the European counterparts. There is a high correlation between concern and proximity. 64 per cent of consumers across the globe mentioned war as a key concern compared to about 37 per cent of respondents in India,“ it added.

Inflation impact

At the same time, Indian consumers are feeling the impact of price hikes in fuel, food and drink, and household bills the most. The increase in prices of white goods and mobile phones is pinching Indian consumers more than in other countries.

In a statement, Soumya Mohanty, Managing Director, South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar said, “The current tempest of global events is affecting long-term plans as well as short-term behaviour of Indians. Beyond making cutbacks on general expenditure, people are rationalising their future savings and working harder.”

Luxury goods, entertainment, and holidays are likely to be the sectors to suffer next. Almost half of the households (41 per cent) are considering economising subscription services.

Longer-term, almost three fourth of people say the current turmoil is impacting their big life plans; saving for big future life events (47 per cent), children’s education (27 per cent), and retirement plans (24 per cent). So, the impact of this crisis lies in the future as much as in the present and can influence not just financial but also emotional well-being.

“Brands must therefore recognise what matters in people’s lives and examine the brand’s relevance in supporting people overcome these challenges,” Mohanty added.

Household finances

But Indian consumers’ view regarding household finances is positive due to more positive opinions regarding job security. “We are more optimistic about the future as those expecting pay rise higher than inflation is almost 2x of the world,” the study added.

Meanwhile, climate inaction is causing remarkably high levels of distress — much more in India than rest of the world, the study added.

Deepender Rana, Executive Managing Director, South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar, said, “Brands that can offer green affordable solutions are likely to be favoured and become mainstream. With inflation rocketing, in their daily lives, consumers are considering solutions that can help reduce energy and fuel expenditure.”

Rana added, “They expect brands to do the same and be more efficient, while simultaneously raising the bar on ethical production. If anything, the cost of living crisis has reminded people that green products/services shouldn’t come at a premium.”