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Impact of COVID-19 on the Consumer Behavior in India

Vasuta Agarwal
VP & GM, India, InMobi
5 min read
Posted on April 09, 2020

Amidst the outbreak of COVID-19 in India, we delved into our InMobi platform insights and conducted mobile consumer surveys to understand the following factors:

1. Awareness levels on the pandemic in India

2. Changes in consumer lifestyle, shopping habits and preferences

3. The top stress busters for people at home


The Need of the Hour is to be Aware

Survey results state that most Indians are not aware of the cause, symptoms and the preventive measures that can be taken to avoid COVID-19. It is alarming to see that 60% of the respondents to our survey in India are unsure of the origins of the virus and only 10% can identify the exact two symptoms of the disease. Around half (46%) of the respondents are still not practicing social distancing. The need of the hour is to create proper awareness of the epidemiology of the disease.

The Pandemic’s Impact on the Economy

Consumers feel that the pandemic could cause major hurdles to employment and business growth in India. 43% of respondents believe that COVID-19 will affect the emerging economies including India. 30% of the respondents believe that the world is heading towards a global recession. 50% of Indians expect losses in the industry they work in. 15% of respondents are expecting layoffs.

The Changing Behavior of the Indian Consumer

The current crisis is affecting the brand and category preferences, shopping behavior and spends. In the chaos created by the pandemic, 40% of consumers are stocking up on kitchen supplies, hence the supermarkets and grocery stores are experiencing 80% spike in store visits. With 70% of the consumers preferring home-cooked meals, restaurants have seen a 90% drop in visits.

16% of respondents found difficulties in sourcing the food and grocery essentials. 39% of consumers are experiencing issues obtaining hand sanitizers and handwashing supplies.

The survey also has seen a shift in the behavior of the price conscious customer now relying on promising brands and high-quality products in the personal care category over the price.

Stress Relievers During the Pandemic

Staying at home due to the lockdown has consumers spending more time on digital platforms. Strategy gaming apps experienced a 110% surge in usage. News apps and video editor apps have witnessed 30% and 60% growth, respectively. 39% of smartphone users are spending time on social apps to stay connected with family and friends. 46% of respondents are spending time on OTT apps and TV as they are spending more time at home.

Meme sharing has increased, with 37% of people exchanging memes throughout the day. There has been 200% growth in the number of people reading Indian books and comics.

With uncertainty around, the daily lives of consumers witness some highly unique and unheard-of changes. At InMobi, we plan to keep a track of them by continuously engaging with consumers through surveys and diving deep into our platform intelligence, to provide the latest COVID-19 trends and insights. To know more insights on the consumer behavior in India amidst COVID-19, read the full report here.

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