Consumers in India are most worried in the face of uncertainties due to the Covid-19 lockdown, taking the top spot in a global anxiety index, in a study by Deloitte.

India’s anxiety score was the highest at 33 followed by Mexico (17) and Spain ( 14). The survey was carried out on May 16.

Anil Talreja, Partner and Leader, Consumer Industry, Deloitte India, said: “The survey gives a pulse of consumer behaviour and trends during these challenging times. It gives a reflection of heightened consumer apprehensions, which are at the core of their decision-making. This, in turn, will also steer consumer product companies to build their new strategies around sales and marketing. Building value for brands virtually is going to be another task that companies would need to focus in the future”.

The good news though is that India’s score was at 57 when the survey was done on May 3, indicating that the anxiety levels have come down since then. However, Japan and Italy, which figured among the top 5 countries during the first week of May, have since moved down the index. India has been at top spot since the survey began in April.

The survey question asked was whether the respondent feels more anxious than last week. Global State of the Consumer Tracker is a survey fielded using an online panel, where consumers over 18 years of age are invited to complete the questionnaire (translated into local languages) via email.

The first survey was conducted during the week of April 13, and run in 13 countries (targeting 1,000 per country/wave) and designed to be nationally representative of the overall population in each market. Deloitte unveiled a 30-day analysis on Wednesday.

Changing spending pattern

The spending pattern of Indian consumers has changed over the last six weeks with 55 per cent of respondents willing to spend a lot more on less discretionary items such as groceries, 52 per cent on everyday household goods, 31 per cent on healthcare, 47 per cent on medicines and 46 per cent on home internet/mobile phone vis-à-vis discretionary items such as Cable TV (31 per cent) and entertainment (29 per cent) which shows the intention to get back to a normal lifestyle.

Intent to use digital services has seen a rise with 44 per cent of respondents very likely to use it for groceries, 27 per cent for virtual doctor appointments, 36 per cent for exercise programmes, 52 per cent for video-conferencing with family and friends, 47 per cent for streaming entertainment and 53 per cent for payment apps/services