Indian consumers emerge far more hungry after second COVID-19 wave
The July-September quarter saw 46% growth in total sales by value, according to the latest report by Bizom, a sales automation firm that transacts with 7.5 million retail stores.
That compared with a 6% increase in the corresponding quarter last year, which marked a recovery in the segment that was affected due to supply and manufacturing constraints that began at the end of March 2020.
“Lockdown was not as strict and the subsequent opening up saw sales rebounding quickly during the quarter despite a strong base last year. However, we expect a dull December quarter due to alternative and home-made food products during the festive season,” said Krishnarao Buddha, senior category head at Parle Products, India’s largest food company.
Besides, comparatively moderate restrictions helped steady product supply and distribution of products during the second wave, with an immediate increase in economic activity after easing of restrictions. Local control measures by state administrations helped ensure strong restrictions only in pockets that had high rates of infection.
Discretionary categories such as confectionery and packaged foods were severely affected last year but these have shown the strongest growth this year, said Bizom.
“The only category that seems under any kind of growth pressure year is home care where due to the falling Covid cases, the obsessive focus is shifting from health and hygiene products,” said Akshay D’Souza, chief of growth and insights at Mobisy Technologies, which owns Bizom.
Out of home consumption of fast-moving consumer goods products also bounced back since August with increase in mobility, opening up of offices, hotels, restaurants, and rise in travel and social events.
“Sales have been robust over the past few months but hotels, restaurants and caterers have come back strongly which led to higher growth both sequentially and year-on-year. The only challenge is increasing raw material prices as it will be difficult to pass on higher input cost to end consumers,” said RS Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, the maker of Amul chocolates and ice cream
Companies also said learnings from last year helped ensure consumers did not pantry load this time, which meant steady growth every sequential month. In an investor update on Saturday,
, the operator of DMart retail chain, said its standalone sales grew 47% year-on-year during the second quarter.