At the 11th Edition of the Businessworld Marketing Whitebook 2015 launch in Mumbai yesterday, marketers discussed on the topic ‘ A year of Cautious optimism: What lies ahead for business leaders? Speaking on the issue, were Devendra Chawla, Group President, Foods, Future Group, Rakshit Hargave, Managing Director, Nivea India and the session was being coordinated by Gurbir Singh, Executive Editor, BW Businessworld.
Singh started by saying that it is been a year of the new government, with lots of slogans, lots of promises, new initiatives like the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, all these generating good flow to the economy, giving more purchasing power, but at the same time, there is a certain level of scepticism and people are getting cautious. Taking this forward he asked the speakers, what is the mood of the consumers, are they hopeful and are they purchasing?
Commenting on this, Hargave from Nivea, said, “People are not buying in great numbers these days. According to a recent Nielsen report, even though the consumer confidence of our country has increased to a score of 131, which is much ahead of Indonesia and Philippines, our recessionary trends have also increased and it features right on the top. Yes there is optimism that things will be good, but there is also something which is holding back, which amounts to the slow growth. There is also something which is why the consumers are not opening their pockets.”
Chawla from Future Groups highlighted that food business or FMCG is the last one to get hit because of any recession. “There is a dichotomy which currently exists, but the truth is that, there is less money available with the people in the market. Secondly, food inflation has eaten into the money supply for the family. They are left with very less discretionary spends and that is the reason they are not splurging. There is a lot of caution and consumer discretionary spends have to grow up and we are hopeful, that it will be back to where it was,” he cited.
Hargave informs that today, the risk taking appetite of the consumers has gone down and that is the reason, why there are no big launches today. But consumers on the other hand, require new products, new insights, new options and variety of preferences to chose from. He also spoke about how digital as a strategy is ingrained in most of the services today. “E-commerce model is giving the consumers the convenience, it is working much better in certain categories, especially the higher ticket items are joining in and it is working well. However, I always feel that they always have an option of buying it from a brick and mortar store as well,” he added.