The EY ‘Sentiments of India’ survey tracks the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on kirana stores and their evolving status within the urban consumer ecosystem.
Kirana stores have emerged as local saviours during this time of crisis. During the uncertainty, consumers have turned to their local Kirana stores for their requirements. According to EY’s latest report ‘Sentiments of India – Pulse of the country, Kiranas’ there is a renewed trust in hyperlocal communities with the kirana store emerging as a hub that helped maintain the regular supply of essentials during the lockdown as cities struggle to get back to their normal rhythm.
The report covers both the impact that the pandemic has had on consumers and its pursuant impact on kirana stores as providers of essentials. The report includes a survey that focuses on insights gathered through 27 qualitative interviews conducted across 12 cities, 5 metros and 7 non metros in India. Some of the key insights from the survey include:
Consumers have a more positive outlook towards their local kiranas and they are quickly becoming a trusted point in the local ecosystem
56% of respondents in metros feel that there has been a positive change in the attitude of consumers post the lockdown. FMCGs, large retailers and financial services companies should recognize that the kirana store is the new local touchpoint and their conduit into the daily life of a trusting consumers.
Consumer preferences have changed with ‘do it yourself’ (DIY) coming to the forefront
With consumers now spending more time at home, we see an increasing demand for specialty food items and DIY items. 79% respondents in non-metros and 75% in metros stated that consumers are purchasing specialty food items and DIY items in unprecedented quantities to the extent that the kiranas are finding it hard to source such specialty food items like baking goods, instant foods, ready mixes, special masalas and namkeens due to stock-outs.
Hyper-localization and change in influencers
The pandemic has led to a renewed trust in the local kirana store with a surge in new consumers visiting the local stores both in metros and non-metros. 79% of respondents in non-metros and 50% in metros state that there are new consumers coming to their store post the lockdown period. These are consumers who would earlier shop online or from supermarkets, are now preferring to buy from local kirana stores to avoid long queues and there is a semblance of trust and traceability.