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FMCG sales decline in last week of March, e-comm to play a larger role: Nielsen

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Retailers have witnessed a sharp decline in the last week of March across all channels, after posting double digit growth in the first three weeks on account of the , said data analytics firm in a report.

FMCG sales decline in last week of March, e-comm to play a larger role: Nielsen

This was primarily due to choking of supply lines during the lockdown. Moreover, retailers also faced the issues related to availability of man power to run the store due to lack of transport, Police restrictions, and fear of the virus, among others.

Nielsen, in its report “: Impact on and Retail” also predicted that e-commerce would play a larger role in the industry post crisis and majority of the companies are working in that direction.

According to it, importance of “online offerings and tech based enablers” will grow and majority of the corporate are now talking about more focus on e-com for the next 12 months.”

Moreover, Nielsen in the report has said there is possibility of huge cut in discretionary spends by the customer post lockdown.

Besides, around consumers will spend 42 percent less on alcohol and tobacco products, it added.

“Consumers will be bearish on discretionary spends in the upcoming months,” said Nielsen in its second analysis of the impact on COVID-19 on the FMCG sector on Friday.

However, consumer’s focus on “health & hygiene facets and financial security may be the embedded future behaviour shifts,” it added.

Consumers would spend more on personal hygiene and safety products in the coming times. They would increase spending on healthy, organic food, medical needs, fitness, medi-claim etc.

According to , West Market Leader, Nielsen South Asia, lockdown would set a new normals in the consumer behaviour and would witness lots of changes in their buying pattern.

“This is a special situation and is also going forward. This may be for a few months. Of course there would be ‘new normals’ which would be created,” he said.

While giving a weekly analysis of FMCG sales, Nielsen said that traditional retailers had reported a growth of 10 percent in the week ending March 22. However, it reported a dip of 8 percent in the week ended March 29, compared to the same week of the previous year.

Modern trade stores reported 85 percent jump in sales in the third week of March, but garnered only 6 percent growth in the last week of March.

E-commerce had a value growth of 87 percent and 85 percent in the second and third week of March, but had a dip of 64 percent in the last week.

Similarly, Cash & Carry had reported a growth of 61 percent in the third week of March and slipped to 44 percent in the fourth week, in comparison to the same period last year.

According to its analysis of tracking sales, consumers faced around 30 percent shortage of hand sanitisers, face masks, gloves, followed by salty snacks and ready to eat instant noodles, upma etc by 21 percent.

The report also highlighted that local brands plugged in to fill the gaps during the lockdown. In segments as packed rice, the top three companies had around 72 percent market share in January and February and this was reduced to 64 percent in March.

In hand sanitizers, market share of top three brands was reduced to only 38 percent in March from 85 percent in January and February.

According to an online survey conducted due by Nielsen during lockdown between April 10 to 14 said, “39 percent consumers stated that they will increase online shopping by more than 20 percent post Covid situation”.

Several online aggregators are diversifying to meet current consumer needs and FMCG companies has partnered several of them to deliver their products at their door step.

The Prime Minister on Tuesday announced the extension of lockdown till May 3. India is presently going through an unprecedented complete lockdown from March 25 to prevent the spread of the virus.