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84% Indians feel it's safe to return to office

By Ritwik Sharma
September 22, 2021 14:21 IST
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An overwhelming majority of Indians (84 per cent) feel it is safe to return to their workplaces, according to a Deloitte survey that suggests consumers in India are showing a positive spending intent and brighter outlook towards the future.

The latest monthly analysis (wave 220) of Deloitte’s Global State of the Consumer Tracker, signals a cautious consumption revival in the country, aided by the decreasing number of Covid-19 cases and an improved vaccination drive.

The Global State of the Consumer Tracker is an online survey based on responses from 1,000 people each in 18 countries including India.

 

The latest figures, based on last month’s survey, show that the Indian consumer is ready to spend more on discretionary items, wants to spend on travel, and is less hesitant about in-person events and activities.

While 60 per cent were willing to attend in-person events, 59 per cent felt safe taking a flight and 30 per cent showed willingness to use public transport.

One-thirds (34 per cent) of the consumers have shown anxiety, an index based on “whether an individual is more anxious than the previous week”.

Among the surveyed countries, India fares the worst, followed by South Africa (14 per cent), US (4 per cent), Australia (3 per cent) and UK (1 per cent).

It is not surprising, therefore, that 76 per cent of Indians are worried about their physical well-being and 79 per cent are concerned about the health of their family.

Porus Doctor, partner and consumer industry leader, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India, said, “The easing of Covid-19 related restrictions across the country along with an accelerated vaccination drive has fuelled positive consumer sentiments.

"Our latest survey insights indicate higher levels of consumer spends and a decline in anxiety levels will boost India’s economic revival, albeit with a touch of caution.”

One of the key trends emerging from the survey is the gradual return of Indians to their offices.

While vaccination has helped in this regard, employees are expected to be in office based on need and with utmost precautions and Covid-19 protocols in place.

With the festive season near­ing and on the back of lower Covid-19 cases, Indian consumers are showing lower levels of anxiety, resulting in a willingness to increase spend­ing on more discretionary items.

Consumers are seen actively spending on alcohol (12 per cent), cable TV (36 per cent), clothing/footwear (36 per cent), electronics (33 per cent), furnishings (25 per cent) and restaurants (22 per cent), according to the survey.

International leisure travel is also gaining momentum, with several countries lifting travel restrictions for India.

Fifty-seven per cent Indians surveyed are planning international travel for leisure in the next three months.

With several initiatives to allow the movement of passengers between nations like air bubbles, vaccine passports, travel corridors and now Vaccinated Travel Lane, search enquiries for travel to international destinations have been on rise, it adds.

The analysis also shows that savings are up by 4 per cent (50 per cent in the current wave compared with 46 per cent in the previous wave).

This could be in preparation of future purchases and seasonal deals during the festive season, the tracker says.

With offices and other daily activities resuming gradually, Indians are seen to have reduced anxiety on mobility, though 70 per cent respondents plan to limit the use of public transportation compared with 73 per cent in the previous wave (July).

Also, 67 per cent respondents plan to limit their use of ride-hailing services over the next three months as compared with 70 per cent in the previous wave.

Photograph: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

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Ritwik Sharma in New Delhi
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