Three in four worries about rising inflation and want the government to take drastic action to combat it. Inflation and job insecurity continue to worry urban Indians as most consumers demand faster government action to curb commodity prices and protect jobs, according to research by analyst firm Kantar.
“3 out of 4 people are worried about the rising inflation and want the government to introduce decisive measures to tackle the same. Every 1 in 4 Indians is also concerned about the threat of job layoff. This is relatively higher in the affluent (32%), older 36–55-year-olds (30%), and salaried classes (30%),” according to the findings of a survey released by Kantar on Wednesday.
Kantar has released the second edition of the Indian Trade Union Budget Survey. A total of 1892 consumers between the ages of 21 and 55 were interviewed. Respondents belonged to socioeconomic classes A and B, living in 12 cities in India (Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Indore, Patna, Jaipur, and Lucknow).
The interviewees were a mix of employees and business owners, the public and affluent consumers, all of whom had savings accounts at various banks and were sole or joint decision-makers regarding household finances.
Kantar said the mood in India was cautiously optimistic with a clear end to the Russo-Ukrainian war, an expected slowdown in Europe and the US, and elections scheduled in nine Indian states in 2023.
At the macro level, respondents are positive with 31% believing that growth will slow while 50% believe the Indian economy will grow in 2023. Non-metro (54%) is more optimistic than Metro. 55% expect the Sensex to exceed 70,000 by the end of the year, and 40% expect it to exceed 70,000 by a significant percentage. According to survey results, this is more among the affluent (58%) and older people (36-55 years old).
However, the global economic downturn and the threat of spreading COVID-19 infection are major concerns for Indians.
Even as the pandemic enters its fourth year, the majority (55%) of those surveyed still want the government to focus on health care in the upcoming budget. This figure is significantly lower than last year (66%).
“Indians are largely positive about the macroeconomic performance of the country in 2023. Belief in the Indian growth story amongst the older and affluent class is quite strong. However, the global economic slowdown might play spoilsport. Most expect the government to play the role of a protector and take stringent measures to curb inflation to prevent the economy from slipping into a recession, as it directly impacts their household budget as well as their job prospects,” said Deepender Rana, Executive Managing Director, South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar.
Respondents also expect changes to income taxes. An increase in the base income tax exemption limit (from the current Rs 250,000) is the most common expectation among consumers, followed by an increase in the top tax rate threshold of 30% (from the current Rs 1,000,000). The former is significantly higher in the employee segment (42%) while the latter is more expected by entrepreneurs or self-employed people (37%) and the older segment (42%). Two-thirds also want to see a tax increase or reduction for investments below 80C.
With rising healthcare costs coupled with high inflation, the next big consumer demand for health insurance discounts is the next big consumer demand (45% ). The employee segment spoke more with 49%.