A recent study conducted on shopping loyalists across fashion apparels, personal and home care, shows that many categories badly hit by Covid-19 are rebounding, although, the preference of channels is tilting towards online in some of them. This was revealed in a consumer shopping study conducted jointly by India’s largest multi-brand loyalty program, PAYBACK and its digital research partner, Unomer. The study examined the sentiments and outlook of around 3,000 respondents regarding preferences in shopping from the time of first unlock to festive/marriage season. The respondents chosen were frequent shoppers for fashion apparels, personal care and home décor in the past 2 years, in the age group of 25 to 50 years across 12 cities including all Metros and Tier 1 cities, with varying income thresholds.
In the fashion and apparel segment, between the unlock and ongoing festive/marriage season, preference for Party-wear or Occasion-wear saw 41% growth, followed by 16% growth in Semi-formal or formal wear. In the same period, regular loungewear for home saw a decline of 13% and a marginal decline of 3% in Casual Jeans/T-shirt etc. In terms of the shopping channels, malls were the most preferred destinations pre-Covid, however, during the Unlock phase Online buying preference has gone up by 15%, whereas there is a decline of 38% for malls and 29% for high-street stores.
The study shows that nearly 75% or three-fourth fashion apparel shoppers prefer online shopping for their clothes. The shift is largely driven by female shoppers, with 84% preferring online. In the age band of 20 – 35 years, Online shopping preference is higher in the non-metro cities (74%) vs the metros (63%). However, the preference for offline shopping is nearly the same in both metros & non-metro cities.
Another popular category – Personal care (Hygiene, Skin & Haircare) which underwent a massive change in preferences because of the pandemic, lockdowns and stay-at-home is throwing interesting data. On being asked whether they have bought so far since the outbreak of Covid and whether they planned to buy soon, Sanitizers show a drop from 74% (bought) to 43% (planning to buy). Decline also observed in Trimmer/Epilator, 27% (bought) to 17% (planning to buy) & Skin & Hair Care products 58% (bought) to 46% (planning to buy). Possible reasons could be that these got over-stocked initially or some of these have a longer buying cycle (durables like trimmers). In this category of products, the preference for the shopping channel is equally split between offline & online platforms.
Non-buyers in both apparels and personal care categories are primarily concerned about Safety measures at the stores & sanitized pieces delivery for online shopping (65%).
Lastly, a category most impacted by Festive/Marriage season – Home décor – is seeing a 44% improvement from 27% (bought) to 39% (planning to buy).
Giving a perspective on the consumer shopping survey, Ramakant Khandelwal, CMO, PAYBACK India, says, “Our consumer studies are geared to study the sentiments of Loyal customers across popular spend categories in the post-Covid reality. This survey shows how the pandemic has accelerated shoppers’ behavioural shift towards online buying, especially for apparels, as they embrace digital life. We hope that our findings enable brands to hone their marketing strategies.”
Also sharing his thoughts on the survey, Vinay Bapna, CEO, Unomer, said “For dynamic categories like fashion and apparels, tracking consumer trends is critical for brands and retailers in order to stay in sync with consumer demand. The lead-times of product design, production planning, distribution and marketing must be fully aligned with consumer preference and spending behaviour driven by data and insights.”
PAYBACK has a loyal base of members across several spend categories and the platform has been collaborating with top brands to design intelligent engagement and retention strategies. With a 360-degree understanding of shopping behaviour across key categories like travel, groceries, fuel, entertainment, apparel, electronics and more, PAYBACK India is creating opportunities for brands to leverage these insights and craft the right strategies, through its digital platform and partnerships.