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Backed by a strong economy, Indian consumers echo a positive economic sentiment when it comes to their personal financial outlook.

Today (23rd November 2018), at Mintel’s Big Conversation Mumbai, latest research from Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency, reveals that as many as 76% of Indian consumers are positive about the future. Furthermore, over three in four (77%) say they have spare money to spend once their bills are paid off.

Given positive personal finances, it seems Indians are now looking for new experiences and willing to spend on indulgences. In fact, the top three choices for consumer spending are eating out (23%), shopping for accessories/clothes (22%) and travelling (21%).

Nidhi Sinha, Head of Content, Mintel Indian Consumer, said:

“India’s economy is experiencing growth across industries. Growth in domestic sectors and the influx of investment is leading to higher disposable incomes. This is driving young consumers to pursue new age aspirations such as travel, self-enhancement and indulgence. What’s more, new spending priorities, centred around eating out, shopping and travel, are driving consumer willingness to experiment with new products and services and take a chance on new brands.”

Home-grown pride

Modern consumers are now showing much more confidence in Indian brands, a distinct move away from a time when ‘foreign’ was synonymous with ‘greater quality’. Looking specifically at the grocery retail sector, almost half (46%) of grocery shoppers in India** agree that they prefer buying Indian brands over global brands. Also reflecting a gradual preference towards buying local, Mintel research shows that half of grocery shoppers who visit hypermarkets (48%) and neighbourhood supermarkets (49%) factor in the availability of Indian brands in their decision of where to shop.

“Perhaps due to a growing pride of local produce, home-grown brands, particularly in the food and drink industry, are gaining popularity in India where multinational brands have traditionally ruled. Additionally, Indian brands and companies are effective when it comes to quickly launching innovative products that address the unique needs and lifestyle requirements of Indian consumers, offering a variety of alternatives that address local pain points and gaps, challenging the dominance of major, international players in the Indian marketplace.” Nidhi continued.

Beautiful India

As Indians seek out new experiences and spend on indulgences, they are also spending time in maintaining their appearances, as well as opting for better options in the beauty and wellness sector. In fact, three in five Indian women agree that they would prefer to use natural or organic beauty products (58%) and that natural brands are safer than mainstream brands (60%). It seems that ‘skin is in’ among Indian women, as two-thirds (66%) say that they tend to prefer the ‘natural’ look.

“There is a booming beauty and wellness market in India where we are seeing healthy competition among a mix of established, international beauty and personal care brands, as well as home-grown beauty companies and start-ups. ‘Made in India’ is a concept that proves to have potential in the Indian beauty space. Women, today, are after a more ‘natural’ look and this is an area where local brands have the advantage—particularly through their capabilities to innovate and introduce new products to the market that suit the Indian skin tone. Indian consumers’ belief in naturalness has also led to a growth in home-grown beauty brands that offer a more holistic approach to beauty and skincare.” Nidhi added.

The conventional beauty consumer aside, men’s grooming is also seeing an uptick. A staggering two-thirds (65%) of Indian men are concerned about a certain aspect of their appearance, while 57% agree that it is enjoyable to try new male grooming products. Men, like women, are also spending time on their appearances, according to new Mintel research. On average, Indian men spend 16 minutes on the body, 14 minutes on the hair and 12 minutes on the face; meanwhile, Indian women spend 22 minutes on the body, 21 minutes on the hair and 20 minutes on the face.

When it comes to facial skincare, more Indian men than women seek professional advice. Thirteen percent of male facial skincare users in India*** have visited a skin clinic for treatment, while only 6% of female facial skincare users have done the same. Additionally, 13% of Indian male facial skincare users, and just 7% of female facial skincare users, have asked a dermatologist for skincare advice.

“With varied options in the beauty marketplace, men, in general, tend to find it overwhelming when looking for the right products to use and beauty regimes to follow. However, our research shows that Indian men are becoming more engaged in grooming and maintaining their appearances, moving beyond the basic stage of merely using deodorants and/or shaving products. While still in its nascent stage, India’s growing men’s grooming market is set to evolve ever so quickly, and holds opportunities for local and global beauty and personal care companies.

*3,000 urban Indian adults aged 18+, April 2018
**2,921 urban Indian adults aged 18+ who shop for groceries, February 2018
***1,525 urban Indians aged 18+ who use any skincare product, April 2018

Press copies of the research and interviews with Nidhi Sinha, Head of Content, Mintel Indian Consumer, are available on request from the press office.