Introduction:

The consumer confidence survey report by RBI indicates the sentiments of citizens. Since the survey frequency is monthly, it helps to gauge the level of information among the general public and their understanding of the current situation (mostly based on experience) and future expectations. Though the sample size is quite low, (compared to the overall population) it is well distributed and hence we can comfortably presume that it represents the general consensus.

The report is very important as this will set the tone for the upcoming general elections and will also set the benchmark to assess the impact of the recent budget announcements, when the survey is repeated in March 2019

The results for Dec-18 (latest available as on 21st Feb 2019) are:

  • Consumer confidence index shows negative sentiment

  • The economic situation, price level, and employment also depicts negative sentiment

General Economic Situation (GES):

The perception of people about the fact that GES has worsened has grown. In December 2017, 37.5% of people perceived that the GES has worsened, whereas, in December 2018, 43.1% of the people perceived that the GES has worsened. An increase by 15% In terms of future also, people believe that the situation will further worsen by +8%.

Employment:

Looking at Employment, in December 2018, 44.3% of people perceived that the employment situation has worsened, compared to 2017 when it was at 41%. Future for employment looks bleak because of 2018, 22.7% said that the situation will worsen, compared to 2017, when 20.9% said the same.

 

Price level and Inflation:

Less than 5% respondents said that price levels had decreased, whereas, 7% respondents perceived that inflation had gone down. In terms of future expectations, 13% respondents thought that the price levels will go down, whereas, for inflation, just 6% felt that there will be a decrease.

Overall, less than 10% of the population has the view and future expectation that price level and inflation have decreased or will decrease.

 

Income:

In all, 30% of people thought that income has increased, whereas, only 3.5% felt that spending has decreased. However, from an income perspective, 64% of people thought that income will increase and 4% felt that the spending will decrease.

Spending on Essential & Non-Essential Items

Only 2-3% of the respondents perceived that there is a reduction in spending on Essential items compared to 12-24%, who thought that the spending has reduced on Non-essential items. It should be noted that the common man needs the essential items for survival and non-essential items can be broadly classified as items for convenience. Hence, low-income consumers still feel the burden of price on essential items. In terms of future expectations, the picture remains the same.

Conclusion:

Increase in prices, no considerable increase in income, no reduction in the spending on essential items, and worsening of the general economic situation in the country, is what people in India are encountering. The future expectation on the ground is also a matter of concern for the government and Indian citizens. Whether the government going to do anything about this is something that we will have to wait and see.