Confidence in national recovery has improved since April end when it had fallen to 17 per cent, amidst a deadly second wave of the pandemic. With subsequent lockdown restrictions and vaccination in full swing, this number has improved and now a majority are positive about recovery.
Even though people think the situation is getting better, seven in 10 (71 per cent) said they are worried about their personal finances getting affected because of the Covid outbreak.
However, the biggest concern is its long lasting negative impact of on the society.
When asked about how their financial situation changed in the past three months, two in five respondents (40 per cent) said it has worsened, while for nearly a third (32 per cent) there has been no change.
One in seven (14 per cent) think their financial situation has improved in this duration and the rest are not sure.
While many (37 per cent) think their financial situation may recover in the near future (between one to six months), the majority (51 per cent) feel it may take longer (over six months or more than a year) until things look bright on the monetary front.
The view of economic recovery is less hopeful; with more than two in five (42 per cent) saying India’s economy will be in recession or depression in 12 months time. Others are divided between expecting the economy to boom (24 per cent) or remaining stable (19 per cent).
Given the uncertain times and the looming concern about personal finances, it is not surprising to see urban Indians leaning towards savings for emergencies.
Nearly a third of respondents (31 per cent) are prioritizing safeguarding their current holdings or investments.
A quarter (26 per cent) plan to increase their investments with minimum or no risk, while a fifth plan to do so despite risk involved (20 per cent). Just as many (23 per cent) have no particular investment strategy.
A majority have started investing in some financial instrument in the past three months and only a quarter are not investing at all.
Life Insurance, Fixed Deposits, health insurance and mutual funds are the most popular instruments that urban Indians have newly started investing in. The pandemic has given a boost to many alternative avenues of investment and some people have started investing in cryptocurrencies (16 per cent), E-gold (13 per cent) and real estate (10 per cent) during this time.
Looking ahead, two in five urban Indians (39 per cent) intend to increase their monthly investments while three in 10 (29 per cent) plan to keep it the same. Only 18 per cent plan to reduce their monthly investments.
Securing their family is the biggest reason for wanting to increase investments (as said by 56 per cent). Many want to do so because they believe this is a good time to invest in the market (41 per cent) or because they find it easy through invest through digital apps (38 per cent). Those wanting to reduce are doing so mainly because of lower disposal income due to pay cuts (38 per cent) or increased household expenditure (35 per cent).
A look at urban Indians’ recent spending habits shows, expenditure on health and wellness products such as medicines, sanitisers, etc. has increased for a majority of people across both offline and online purchase channels (62 per cent and 54 per cent respectively) in the past two weeks. Large proportions also reported spending more on groceries across both.
Amidst restrictions in the last two weeks, a majority (58 per cent) preferred shopping for groceries offline by visiting a store or placing an order on phone. Having said that, a large proportion (42 per cent) ordered online through delivery apps.
Among those who ordered groceries online, safety stood as the biggest reason for choosing this medium (63 per cent), followed by convenience (51 per cent).