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India retains Credit Suisse consumer survey crown
09
Apr '16
India has once again emerged as the leader in a Credit Suisse consumer confidence survey in emerging markets with Indian participants expressing higher confidence about their current and future finances and relatively lower inflation expectations.

India, which topped the scorecard in 2015 as well, is followed by China and Saudi Arabia, a Credit Suisse report said.

"Weak currencies, political risk and commodity exposures all contributed to the wide range of consumer sentiment expressed in this year's report," said Giles Keating, deputy global chief investment officer at Credit Suisse.

"The negativity of consumers in Russia, South Africa and Brazil contrasted sharply with the relative optimism apparent in India, China and Saudi Arabia," Keating said.

While Indian consumers expressed a degree of disappointment over follow-through action of some policy initiatives of the NDA government, the relative strength of the country's economy reflected in their increasing incomes.

The average Indian respondent's income increased by double-digits compared with a decline for the overall emerging markets average, although income expectations going forward have moderated.

The survey also highlighted fast growth in demand for product categories with low penetration in the country. Female hygiene products, for example, showed 14 per cent improvement in one year, while smartphones grew 12 per cent. Categories such as beer and perfumes are also showing fast-improving longer-term trends, it said.

While penetration levels in India will continue to improve, another overarching trend will be premiumisation as affluent Indians look to acquire better products.

The explosive growth in smartphones in India is seen in 32 per cent of respondents having bought one in the last 12 months, versus only 20 per cent the previous year. Willingness to make discretionary spends on fashion, jewellery, apparel, leather goods and watches showed muted trends over last year, but the base was high after significant improvement in 2014.

The survey said other low penetrated categories like perfumes and sportswear are also improving.

The survey also highlighted the sharp divergence between rural and urban India that has been a feature of recent surveys.

The sharp divergence between rural and urban India has been a feature of recent surveys. The results confirm a reversal, showing slower growth rates or higher declines in spending categories in rural areas. However, we believe that a normal monsoon season, after two consecutive years of poor rainfall, will help revive rural fortunes, the report said.

The Credit Suisse survey was conducted in nine emerging economies, namely, India, China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, South Africa and Russia. To undertake this project, Credit Suisse once again partnered with global market research firm Nielsen to conduct nearly 16,000 face-to-face interviews across the nine emerging economies. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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