New Delhi: FMCG sales saw a sharp decline in the last week of March after a high double digit growth during the first three weeks on account of the nationwide lockdown due to the outbreak of Covid-19, according to data compiled by market researcher Nielsen.

Nielsen also expects consumers to be bearish on discretionary spending such as movies and restaurant visits, luxury brands and leisure travel, and defer spendings on fashion, personal grooming and home decor even in the coming months after the magnitude of the outbreak lessens. They may also spend less on alcohol and tobacco products.

“The focus on health and hygiene products, healthy organic food, medical needs, fitness, mediclaim, education and financial investments may be some of the key shifts in consumer behaviour,” said Sameer Shukla, west market leader, South Asia, Nielsen Global Connect.

The sharp dip in sales was propelled by a shortage of sales staff at retail outlets and out of stock situations post lockdown, Shukla added.

While FMCG sales fell across channels – traditional trade, modern trade, ecommerce and cash and carry stores, traditionditional trade witnessed the sharpest decline followed by modern trade, cash and carry stores and ecommerce. Grocery essentials such as atta, rice, pulses, oil, ghee, personal hygiene items, laundry products, hand sanitizers, salty snacks were some of the products which consumers found out of stock.

Traditional trade saw a huge surge in demand for essential food items followed by snacks, modern trade saw the highest demand for lifestyle items after staples Demand for chocolates and confectionery saw a decline in both outlets.

Top companies expect supply chain and cash flow to remain the biggest hurdle even in the post lockdown situation.

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