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How Affluent Indians Spent the Lockdown?

Digital Subscriptions, Stocking up on Medicines and Cooking, what did people with money do?

   

The nationwide lockdown was an event never witnessed before, where a whole generation of affluent Indians, who have a penchant to spend and consume, found a lot of their regular avenues to spend or venture out shut. CRED, a transparent and fully digital platform of highly trusted individuals, brands and institutions, dove in to understand how this event affected credit card spending behaviour across cities and found some unique insights on how spending behaviour changed. For this analysis, data and insights from the month of March represent the spending patterns of individuals in anticipation and immediately after the announcement of the lockdown. While April represents consumer spending behaviour during the lockdown.

Overall, it was unsurprising to note that credit card spending dropped initially (by 10%) when the lockdown was announced in March and went down even further (by 51%) when it was in full swing April-onwards. The drop in spending can be explained by the fact that avenues to spend such as offline retail and online marketplaces had suspended operations or were not functioning during the lockdown.

Despite the general drop in spending, some categories saw a substantial rise, both during the first two weeks of announcement of lockdown as well as the extension, including digital subscriptions for services like OTT streaming platforms, online classes and e-newspaper subscriptions, indicating a willingness amongst individuals to learn and entertain themselves online during these tough times. Some of the major spending categories that saw a drop include online food ordering and dining out, with more individuals purchasing groceries and preparing meals at home. People clearly felt safe cooking themselves and had the time to experiment. Maybe all those DIY videos and online masterclasses inspired individuals to choose homemade Dalgona coffees over Lattes!

Below are key findings from the data analyzed by CRED:

  1. What did each city rush to spend on when the lockdown was announced? 

It was noticed that during the lockdown period, the priorities of individuals differed based on the city they lived in.

  • Delhiites felt the need to tank up which led to a substantial increase in fuel spends on their credit card, by up to 50% within the first week of the lockdown announcement.
  • Mumbai residents were pragmatic as the city saw the highest spike in medical spends which rose by a staggering 100% when the lockdown was announced
  • Bangaloreans preferred to stock up on essentials with residents spending the most on online grocery shopping which increased by 44%.
  1. Food habits during the lockdown indicate that happiness is homemade! 

CRED found that there was a rise in physical and online grocery shopping during the lockdown and a decrease in online food delivery and dining out. This indicates that affluent Indians were more open to DIY meals. Either they had more time on their hands or they were concerned about the safety and hygiene of their food or both.

March: 

  • Physical grocery spends rose in Delhi by 27%, in Mumbai by 23% and were flat in Bangalore. However, online grocery spends spiked in Bangalore with a 44% increase, while they also increased in Delhi by 38% and Mumbai by 29%.
  • Food ordering spends decreased in Delhi by 26%, in Mumbai by 24% and in Bangalore by 22%.
  • Spends on dining out decreased in Delhi by 40%, Mumbai by 42% and Bangalore by 48%.

April: 

  • Sharpest drops were seen in physical grocery spends with the highest drop recorded in Delhi by 63%, this was followed by Bangalore where spends decreased 45% and then Mumbai where it decreased by 40%. The fear was real! People were definitely not stepping out, even to shop for essentials.
  • With an indefinite extension of the lockdown, people became more conscious of their spending. Even online grocery spends decreased – the most in Mumbai by 42%, Delhi by 31% and Bangalore by 30%.
  • The drop in food ordering accelerated during the lockdown with Delhi decreasing spending by 62%, followed by Mumbai by 61%. Bangaloreans were more open to the idea of ordering in with a relatively lesser drop of 43%.
  • As expected, spending on dining out saw massive drops across all three cities – Delhi by 88%, Mumbai by 90% and Bangalore by 82%.
  1. If you can’t go out, bring entertainment home!

People didn’t step out of their homes but entertained themselves online. While spends on food and going out declined across cities, a major spike was seen in spending on digital subscriptions like online entertainment as well as education or news services. This clearly reflects that beyond food, medicines and utilities, millennials invested majorly on learning and entertainment during these unprecedented times.

March: 

  • All three cities cut their entertainment spends, Delhi by 63%, Mumbai by 67% and Bangalore by 69%.
  • Subscription spends started rising across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore as soon as the lockdown was announced.

April:

  • Entertainment spends in Delhi and Mumbai decreased by 100% as the cities were under complete curfew, while Bangalore saw a dip of 96%.
  • Subscription spends continued rising as people realized they were in this for long! Delhi saw a rise of 18%, Bangalore by 11% and Mumbai by 8%.

More interesting data and insights from the study can be found in the document attached on mail.

Methodology:

For this analysis, CRED analysed credit card spending patterns of its 1 million+ members across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. The data takes February spending as the baseline for month-on-month comparison to the lockdown period. This helps compare how spending changed from February to March when the nationwide lockdown was announced and subsequently when the lockdown continued. In this analysis, data and insights from the month of March represent the spending patterns of individuals in anticipation and immediately after the announcement of the lockdown. While April represents consumer spending behaviour during the lockdown. The analysis presented is not a percentage of spending but instead, a percentage of change in spending when compared to the preceding month, aimed at providing direction on consumer behaviour.

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS FROM CRED STUDY ON CREDIT CARD SPENDING DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

  1. Travel and traffic may have come to a standstill, but that didn’t stop Delhi from fuelling up!

Spends on travel and cab services too understandably declined when the lockdown was announced and subsequently during that period. But what is interesting to note is that Delhiites still prioritised fuelling up during this time with nowhere to go. 

March:

  • Fuel spends rose in Delhi by 50%, while spends in Mumbai and Bangalore maintained during this time period. 
  • Cab spends decreased by 43% in Delhi, 39% in Mumbai and 41 % in Bangalore. 
  • Travel spends decreased by 50-55% across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. 

April: 

  • Fuel spends decreased in Delhi by 53%, Mumbai by 78% and Bangalore by 55%. Finally, Delhi residents realized tanks are full but they can’t go anywhere for a while! 
  • Cab spends decreased in Delhi by 88%, Mumbai by 90% and Bangalore by 89%.
  • Travel spends decreased in Delhi by 87%, Mumbai by 86% and Bangalore by 85%. 
  1. Did people shop till they dropped or was there a drop in shopping altogether? 

There was a noticeable decline in e-commerce and physical shopping across all cities during this time, this is understandable as the functioning of offline retailers, including all malls which continue to remain shut, and online marketplaces were affected during the lockdown period. E-commerce spends increased marginally when the lockdown was announced, but then dropped significantly during the lockdown as only essential goods were sold for a majority of this period. 

March: 

    • E-commerce spends increased marginally in Delhi by 1% and Bangalore by 2%. However, spending in Mumbai decreased by 7% during this time. 
  • Physical shopping spends saw significant reductions across all cities with spending falling in Delhi by 43%, Mumbai by 46% and Bangalore by 43%. 

April:

  • The considerable drop was noticed in e-commerce spends across all cities with spends decreasing in Delhi by 89%, Mumbai by 92% and Bangalore by 87%. 
  • Spends on physical shopping dropped in Delhi by 89%, Mumbai by 92% and Bangalore by 87%. 
  1. Which city considered Health to be Wealth? 

Mumbai clearly prioritised spends on their health when the lockdown was announced, with spikes in both insurance and medical spending.  

March: 

  • Insurance spends rose across all three cities, with the highest spike noticed in Mumbai where spends increased by 23%, followed by Delhi by 11% and Bangalore by only 9%. 
  • Medical spends rose in Mumbai by 100% and Bangalore by 14%. Spends in Delhi remained flat during this time. Mumbaikars clearly valued health over anything else! 

April: 

  • Insurance spends dropped by 20% in Mumbai, 21% in Delhi and 14% in Bangalore.  
  • Medical spends dropped by 58% in Delhi, 35% in Mumbai and 33% in Bangalore. By now, people had planned their medical spends. 
  1. Based on lockdown spending, which city residents are the least likely to panic buy during emergencies? 

  • Delhi stocked up the most on essentials when the lockdown was announced, by increasing their card spends on groceries, fuel and other utilities more than those in Mumbai or Bangalore. 
  • Mumbai, on the other hand, saw spikes during the same time period mostly on medical and insurance spends than the other two cities. 
  • Bangalore’s residents, however, did not rush to stock up as much, maintaining only marginal increases in most essential categories in March. This indicates that the trust in access to essentials was highest in Bangalore, making them least likely to resort to panic buying and hoarding. 

Sample: The data shared is based on aggregated and anonymized insights from over a million CRED members

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Written by Aditya Nath Jha

Aditya Nath Jha is an Engineer from New Delhi, India. His areas of interest include Gadgets, WordPress, speed optimization & latest technology.
When he is not busy blogging he loves to write poetry, compose his own songs and has a taste for music! Find me on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Linked in.
And watch my videos on Youtube.

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