Consumer confidence weakens in April as covid-19 cases once again disrupt normalcy

Consumer confidence weakens in April as covid-19 cases once again disrupt normalcy

The operating environment for banks will most likely remain challenging against this backdrop. This second wave could dent the sluggish recovery in consumer and corporate confidence, and further, suppress banks' prospects for new business.Consumer confidence has weakened across all four indices — jobs, personal finances, economy and investments for the future.

As the second wave of coronavirus continues to disrupt normalcy and livelihood in India, consumer confidence has dipped by 1.1 percentage points over the previous month, according to the monthly Refinitiv-Ipsos Primary Consumer Sentiment Index (PCSI) for India. Consumer confidence has weakened across all four indices — jobs, personal finances, economy and investments for the future. In April, India continues to see a massive rise in cases coronavirus cases even though the vaccination process has already begun. 

The consumer sentiment index shows that the Employment Confidence (Jobs) sub-index is down by 0.6 percentage points; the PCSI Current Personal Financial Conditions (Current Conditions) sub-index has fallen by 1.5 percentage points; the Investment Climate (Investment) sub-index has declined by 0.9 percentage points; and the Economic Expectations (Expectations) sub-index, is down by 0.8 percentage points.

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“Businesses had started recovering post the first wave and now the new wave (which is more infectious) has already started to negatively impact the sentiment around jobs, finances for daily running of households, savings and investments and the economy,” said Amit Adarkar, CEO, Ipsos India. During the previous wave of covid-19, India saw a peak at just below 1 lakh cases a day. Now, as the second wave wrecks havoc, daily case count has jumped to nearly 3 lakh cases per day. 

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Recovering from last year’s lockdown, the consumer sentiment had been steadily recovering till January this year. With the second wave coming to disrupt the idea of old normal, the consumer sentiment has seen a reversal in the last two months. “The government will need to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to offset the impact of the virus; of increasing testing, scaling up the vaccination drive (which govt is already going to start from May 1st of inoculating everyone 18+), mini containment zones for areas most affected by the virus, following the SOPs and providing the health infrastructure (beds and oxygen) to deal with the virus,” Amit Adarkar said.

While many states have introduced night curfews, some have resorted to lockdowns in particular areas. The government has ruled out a full lockdown and has asked states to focus on containment zones rather than complete lockdowns.

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