Shopping is becoming increasingly individualistic across urban India, with younger and more affluent consumers in bigger cities in particular choosing to make purchases alone rather than with their families or friends, said industry executives.
This discernible shift in shopping behaviour from a traditionally collective exercise can be attributed to the rise of ecommerce and social media, they said, along with financial independence at an early age for an increasing number of consumers.
Department store chain Shoppers Stop’s MD Venugopal Nair told analysts last week that there has been a decline in the number of people shopping with families and in groups and that there has been an increase in individual purchases. “We recognise the shift in trends and we continue to bring in brands which cater to that segment,” he said.
Social commentator Santosh Desai said there has been a shift in the way people are getting exposed to fashion influences or purchase decisions more at an individual level through social media on personal devices like mobile phones.
“There is a larger trend of people realising who they are as individuals and recognition of one’s own personalities, which is a distinct shift of the collective identity which they used to have in a country like India.
Demand for Small Packs
This is a pan-India phenomenon but the reflection of this through individual shopping is more in urban India since consumers there have more means to buy,” said Desai, managing director, Futurebrands Consulting.
Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies said single-serve packs are selling more in markets where there is a higher proportion of younger professionals and high penetration of quick commerce.
“The touch and feel factor in purchasing appliances is reducing, especially among high-income consumers, who are either coming alone to buy or even ordering over the phone,” said Nilesh Gupta, director at electronics retail chain Vijay Sales. “This could be due to ecommerce. However, first-time buyers are still coming in groups.”
Youngsters are mostly shopping individually and the brands targeting them are doing very well, said Devaranjan Iyer, CEO of department store chain Lifestyle. “But families are also coming,” he said.
Shoppers Stop has four direct-to-consumer (D2C) fashion brands, which the company has identified as an area of future investment, and it is readying to launch a young streetwear D2C brand Break Bounce.
In FMCG and grocery, the demand for small packs is more in pockets where there is a larger population of young consumers, said B Krishna Rao, senior category head, Parle Products. “But they, too, occasionally buy large packs for get-togethers,” he said.
A Mondelez India spokesperson said the demand for specific packs depends on where they are purchased. “For example, we see family and multi packs do very well in organised trade, whereas we are seeing shares of single-serve packs high on quick commerce, which indicates that different consumption patterns exist across platforms,” said the spokesperson.