High food prices forcing Indians to cut other spendings: Study


New Delhi: Rising inflationary pressures, especially high food prices, have become a major cause of concern for Indians, who are being forced to cut down discretionary spends, according to The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index.

Despite being the most optimistic globally when it comes to their job and personal finance for the next 12 months, the survey said, in the next six months, Indians would be most concerned about increasing food prices.

As per the survey, that polled over 29,000 Internet consumers in 52 countries in November 2010, 90 percent of Indians were upbeat about their jobs, while 84 percent of them are bullish on their personal finance.

“Increasing food and fuel prices remain a big concern for Indians and has a significant bearing on their lifestyles as they try and balance rising costs by cutting down other living expenses,” The Nielsen Company Managing Director Consumer (India) Justin Sargent said in a statement.

Fifteen percent of Indians (polled) considered it as their biggest concern and India ranks fourth globally in its concern for increasing food prices, it added.

Food inflation was at a high level of 15.57 percent in the week ended January 15 on dearer vegetables.

The survey said compared to this time last year, more than seven out of 10 Indians have changed their spending habits to save on household expenses, which is 2 percentage points higher than in the third quarter.

“More than half the Indians (51 percent) surveyed, now spend less on new clothes to cut down expenses,” it said, adding 50 percent Indians now try to save on gas and electricity to save on household expenses, compared to 56 percent in the previous round.

About 43 percent of the Indians surveyed said they will cut down on out of home entertainment, 41 percent on telephone expenses, 38 percent on holidays or short breaks and 35 percent will delay upgrading technology such as personal computers and mobiles to save on household expenses.

“Global economic conditions are acting as a deterrent to the spending habits of Indians. We saw a resurgence in spends in the previous two quarters, but the last quarter of 2010 shows a decline in spending intentions,” Sargent said.

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