IIM pan-India study covers consumer behaviour during lockdown
New Delhi: A pan-India online study conducted by Centre for Marketing in Emerging Economies (CMEE) at IIM Lucknow on “Understanding public sentiment during lockdown” reveals that majority (79%) of people are worried and surrounded by feelings of Fear (40%) and Sadness (22%) even as they are confident of India curbing pandemic. Despite worries, majority (60%) of people covered in the study are confident about India’s ability to curb the spread of pandemic. Measures by the government like lockdown, social distancing, and contract tracing seem to give people confidence. The participants of this study covered 23 states and 104 cities in India across metros, tier 1 and tier 2 cities. The study not only captures how people feel but also why they feel that way. A 24 year old male student from Ludhiana says, "Future Job opportunities are at stake for students graduating in 2021" A 46-year-old female professor residing in Delhi says, “This is not just a health emergency but an economic one as well. It will have a huge impact on all industries and affect the livelihood of billions. It is leading to unemployment and loss of business for a large majority. It is also going to affect the education system and children are losing their play and study hours” Another 22 year old male student from Jabalpur agrees, “It is actually impacting the economy and our future in the corporate sector. We are worried about our future as this pandemic could setback our chances by at least a few years. The mismanagement in the present and as well as in future can severely impact the career of several deserving candidates” A 48 year old male working professional from Noida says, “The absence of economic activities will put pressure on the workforce, there would be job loss, no upward correction of income but prices will continue to grow” Another worried 33 year old male working professional from Delhi says, “The worry is largely around how much this will derail our economy. Indian economy was emerging out of a cyclical period where growth has been falling on account of some reforms” A 50 year old software professional from Mumbai says “Due to the unprecedented lock down measures taken by the central and state governments, we should be able to come out of this better than many other countries.” Another 35 years old working professional from Chennai says, “Majority of the people are following the lockdown measures, they are frustrated and depressed but trying to support the government in this apocalyptic situation” A sizeable chunk (40%) do not feel confident as they believe that compliance of the public with the government guidelines remains an issue and also the country’s preparedness of the health infrastructure, if the virus were to spread. A 33-year-old, working professional of Mumbai says “People do not understand the gravity of the situation. I can easily see people roaming around. Social distancing is not being followed. Even after the announcement of national lockdown migrants are moving from one place to another putting everybody at risk, even though the intention of the government was good” Another furious 40 year old working professional of Delhi says, “There is sheer callousness by the people in maintaining the basic precautions necessary to fight the disease” A male self employed senior citizen from Chennai says, “Situation across the world is bad. We don’t know when it will be free from this crisis, still people are not understanding and creating confusion. Press also is not doing their job properly. Politicians are using this situation for popularizing themselves. People wandering in the streets. Being a democratic country, we are suffering as political parties are not able to take strict action against offenders" While the study was completed before Lockdown 3.0 and announcement of the government’s economic package, Prof Satyabhusan Dash, IIM Lucknow who led the study said “I hope governmental actions are made visible on ground very quickly further to alleviate fear of impact of economic situation which is uppermost in people’s mind.” Ashu Sabharwal, Founder of Qualisys research a guide for the study added “Citizens’ fear is a manifestation of their clear desire for a clear advisory on future actions as we begin to grapple with the process of opening up. Currently, the feeling being imparted is that we have no choice but to get back to work and face the consequences. This needs to be communicated more positively; rather than saying that it is now difficult to escape from Corona, we need to reinforce that if we all will observe all precautions, Corona won’t come to us! Certain assurances from the government on curbs on inflation, economic relief are needed.” These measures together can go a long way in bolstering confidence and boosting the morale amongst people. The study was conducted online in English with about 931 respondents across various social media platforms like Facebook, Linkedin etc., Snowballing sampling methods were used to cover a fairly representative sample across India and covered the Lockdown 1.0 2.0 period (March 25th to May 3rd). Given the nature of these platforms, the survey has a skew predominantly towards male (62%) vs. female (38%), higher education (63% Post Graduation over) and upper income participants with 40% over 10 lacs annual income. The participants of this study covered 23 states and 104 cities in India across metros, tier 1 and tier 2 cities.
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