Covid-19 alters rural consumer behaviour

A StoreKing study was conducted across 22,000 rural kirana stores to identify the rural consumer behaviour during the pandemic.

29 May 2021 | By Aultrin Vijay

StoreKing, one of India’s rural retail ecosystems that connect suppliers, brands and financial institutions to rural consumers with kirana stores, conducted a study to understand consumer consumption behaviour during the lockdown period. The study conducted across 22,000 rural kirana stores monitored purchase habits in categories such as baby care, food and beverages, home care and personal care staples.

According to the study, Covid-19 resulted in record breaking growth of 165% in Chawanprash sales in rural India. With people spending more time at home due to the lockdown, pest and mosquito repellent categories registered more than 200% growth in consumption. Meanwhile, tea and coffee registered 140% growth in consumption.

The study revealed that chips, biscuits, and popcorn consumption grew by 83%. However, additives and packed food such as ready-to-cook, mayonnaise, chutney, and flavoured juices saw a sharp drop across states.

Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka saw 134% growth in herbal solutions in the hair care category. Fancy articles such as talcum powder, lotion, cosmetics and scrubbers lost their sheen and dropped by more than 70%.

Consumption of hair colour, shampoos, shaving cream and face wash grew by more than 47%, as the parlours and salons are shut. But sales of deodorants, hair gel, hair removal cream, and bleach have fallen by more than 70%, as offices and colleges are closed and professionals and students are homebound.

The study also highlighted the consumption patterns of sanitisers and soaps. “Rural Madhya Pradesh and Telangana are moving towards hand-wash while other cities prefer traditional soaps,” the study found.

According to the study, soap is still one of the largest categories and it grew by more than 50%. Sanitiser demand was high in 2020. However, it's going flat at present.

Sridhar Gundaiah, founder and CEO of StoreKing, said, “It is rather interesting to note that hygiene and cleanliness have become a priority in rural India. We have registered a huge spike in the sales of hand-washes and soaps across cities.”

“While we could clearly demarcate the most preferred personal care products such as sanitiser, hand-wash and soaps from consumption analysis, we were also interestingly able to identify some of the regional favourites such as hand-washes in rural Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, soaps in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra,” he added.

StoreKing was launched in 2012 with a seed investment from Mangrove Capital and is headquartered in Bangalore. At present, it has a run rate of Rs 800 crores in product sales with a combination of direct brand tie-up and also marketplace sellers for rural India and also powers Rs 500 crores in financial services transactions every year with over 1,000 super franchises and 20,000+ franchisees.

StoreKing said its platform enables retailers to manage their consumers with loyalty points and has registered close to three crore consumers of rural India for the programme. The team comprises 200+ members spanning eight states – Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

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