Falling Consumer Confidence
The economic crisis has been taking a steady toll of consumer confidence. Consumer confidence is
now at historic lows across the world.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, fell to an all-time low in October. The Index now
stands at 38.0 (1985=100), down from 61.4 in September. The Present Situation Index decreased to
41.9 from 61.1 last month. The Expectations Index declined to 35.5 from 61.5 in September. This
decline brings the index to its lowest level since its inception in 1967. Consumers in The US believe
that it has firmly moved into a recessionary environment and the slowdown will be the worst in a
generation, according to the Board.
The consumer confidence index for Great Britain has fallen from 79 points in May to 74 in the latest
findings. During this time last year, the index stood at 94, signalling a significant decline. Eighty four
per cent of people in Great Britain now believe the country is in recession.
US retail sales fell in October by the most since the 2001 recession, according to a Bloomberg Survey.
Consumer spending fell by 3.1% in October, the most since 1980. According to experts, American
economy will deteriorate further in the next quarter. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of US
economy. If it contracts by biggest margin since 1980, what does it portend for the future?
Gallup’s data shows clear declines in consumer sentiment – “During mid-October, the percentage of
Americans saying the economy was getting worse reached a weekly high for the year of 88%. During
the following few weeks, consumer pessimism eased steadily, as the percentage "getting worse" fell
eight points to 80% for the week of Oct. 27-Nov. 2. Over the three days ending on Election Day, this
measure of consumer expectations stood at 78%, and in the days from Election Day to the next three
days, it fell another four points to 74%.”
Marketers are in for tough times during the next few months, and it’s universal.
An Emerging Trend
Star is leveraging its brands and assets to create alternative revenue streams. Star India has brought out
a range of consumer products based on its popular soaps and reality shows. Ethnic jewely and Indian
wear, such as saris etc. featuring designs from the saas-bahu serials, are sold under the Star Parivaar
brand. Star has tied up with retail chain Big Bazaar, Crosswords, and others for various products.
Sia Art Jewellery had also earlier announced their association with Star Parivaar as the exclusive
licensee for Art Jewellery by launching an exclusive range under the Star Parivaar brand name. This
range of jewellery draws inspiration from the channel’s popular soaps like Bidaai, Kyunki Saas Bhi
Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kasautii Zindagi Kay, Kayamat and Bhabhi. In fact, the
channel has also taken a step forward to integrate this jewellery within the Star Parivaar awards as well
as Bhabhi and Bidaai.
Star has also undertaken a publishing initiative by launching comics based on their shows like Sarabhai
Vs Sarabhai, Prithviraj Chauhan, and Antariksh. Besides these, various card games and board games
based on their successful shows Nach Baliye and the more recent Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas Se Tez Hain
has already hit stores.
Financial Asset Penetration in India
On an average, only 16% of Indian households have taken loans from institutional agencies. On the
other hand, 22% of the households have taken loans from non institutional agencies. There are two
clear indications here –
a) The bulk of the population is financially underserved and rely on informal lending and
b) The non institutional agencies have together achieved a much higher penetration than the
If we look at another indicator of financial inclusion, namely percentage of households who hold
stocks and debentures, we find that the penetration is just 5%. There is no doubt that financial
inclusion is extremely poor and financial institutions need to focus more on expanding the market
rather than flog the existing markets.
Here are the top districts in terms of penetration of institutional loans (these districts have penetrations
ranging from 37% to 68%) - Kottayam, Kannur, Idukki, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta, Kasaragod,
Wayanad, Palakkad, Kollam, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram
from Kerala and Mahe, Udupi, Satara, Kolhapur, Wardha, Shajapur (MP). As many as 14 of the top 20
are from Kerala.
The bottom twenty districts (all less than 1% penetration) are mainly from the hill districts (Arunachal
Pradesh, Manipur, Mehghalaya and J&K - Changlang, East Kameng, Lohit, Lower Subansiri, Tirap,
Dhubri, Kupwara, Bishnupur, Chandel, Churachandpur, Senapati, Tamenglong, Thoubal, Ukhrul, East
Garo Hills, Jaintia Hills, Ri Bhoi, South Garo Hills, West Garo Hills
The picture changes substantially when one looks at the penetration of non institutional loans. The top
24 districts have penetration ranging from 50-53%. These are - Tiruchirappalli, Nagapattinam,
Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Karur, Pudukkottai and Perambalur from Tamil Nadu, Mahe, Karaikal,
Pondicherry, Yanam from Pondicherry, and Prakasam, Srikakulam, West Godavari, Krishna, Nellore,
Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, East Godavari, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Anantapur and Kurnool
from Andhra Pradesh indicating a clear geographic pattern.
The bottom districts are again from the hill states. In fact of the bottom 64 (up to 7% penetration) - 2
are from Andaman and Nicobar, 13 are from Arunachal, 14 are from J&K, 7 from Meghalaya, 8 from
Mizoram, 4 from Sikkim, 13 from Uttaranchal, and 3 from West Bengal.
At a broader level there is a clear need for enhanced services in the hill states. However, even among
the relatively well off districts, it is interesting to note that TN and Andhra seem to have a very high
penetration of non institutional loans as compared to institutional loans – clearly an area for capturing
the low hanging fruits for the formal sector.
Did you Know?
The age profile of the top 112 cities (which account for a population of 200 million) does not have too
much variation across cities and regions. 69% are between the age of 18 and 60 and the proportions do
not vary much across different cities. The proportion of the aged in the larger cities is higher but only
In sheer numbers, about 36 million people in the top 112 cities are above 60 years of age and the alpha
cities account for 35% of them. The under 18 population is significantly smaller at about 26 million
under 18 years 18-35 years 35-60 years > 60 years
Alpha (top 10) 12.4% 34.3% 34.7% 18.6%
Beta (11th to 30th) 13.0% 34.7% 34.2% 18.1%
Gamma (31st to 50th) 14.1% 35.9% 32.7% 17.3%
Delta (51st to 112th) 14.3% 36.7% 31.6% 17.3%
Total (112 cities) 13.3% 35.3% 33.5% 17.9%