Consumer sentiments to remain buoyant

by Mahesh Vyas

Consumer sentiments corrected by 2.6 per cent during the last two months of 2022. In the preceding two months, September and October 2022, sentiments had improved by 13.6 per cent. The impressive improvement in sentiments during September and October 2022 reflects the festival season effect in India. A post-festival season correction was expected. It is interesting to note that the correction was small compared to the gains in sentiments during the season. On a net basis, consumer sentiments seem to have gained by over 10.7 per cent since the festive season in India.

Sentiments continue to improve in January. By 22 January 2023, the 30-day moving average of the Index of Consumer Sentiments (ICS) was 2.2 per cent higher than it was at the end of December.

The sustained improvement in the ICS implies that the 2.6 per cent fall it registered during November and December 2022 was essentially a temporary phenomenon that can be attributed to the seasonal nature of the work of daily wage labourers and small traders.

Prospects of a seasonal increase in business by small traders and increase in demand for daily wage labourers could have raised their sentiments during the build-up to the festive season. As the festive season wanes, this demand recedes and at least a part of their gains in sentiments are shed.

Small traders and daily wage labourers had recorded a sharp 22 per cent increase in their ICS between June and September 2022. This is the period when the demand for daily wage labourers increases on the farms and also in preparation for the ensuing festival season. While the sentiments of all other occupation groups also improved, it was the daily wage labourers that saw the biggest jump. Overall, the ICS increased by 13.7 per cent between June and September 2022.

Then, between September and December 2022, the ICS for daily wage labourers shrunk by 5.4 per cent. All other groups saw a continuation of the growth in the ICS during this period. Evidently, the cumulative post festive season correction is limited to the daily wage labourers group. Small traders and daily wage labourers account for about 18 per cent of the total income generated by all households. But they account for a larger 25 per cent of all households.

Between September and December 2022, the ICS for salaried employees grew by a handsome 8.9 per cent. This is the group that has the highest average income levels. It is significant in size as well although it is not the largest group in terms of count. The importance of the salaried class is its greater average income and also its share in total income of all households. Among the four major occupation groupings business persons, salaried employees, daily wagers and farmers, it is the salaried class that generates the highest income.

There are about 60.5 million households of the salaried employee class. They account for about 18 per cent of all households in India. But, these 18 per cent households account for 27 per cent of all the incomes earned by households in India. From the perspective of future growth potency of a group, the sustained elevated consumer sentiments of the salaried class has greater salience. Interestingly, the salaried class has demonstrated greater optimism on the future. The Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE) for this group has risen by over 12 per cent between September and December 2022 while the overall ICE grew by a much smaller, five per cent.

From a growth-potency perspective, farmer households are equally important. They account for 26 per cent of all households and 25 per cent of all household incomes. What is remarkable about this group is its sustained elevated ICS compared to all other household groups. In April 2020, when the pandemic hit Indian households, the ICS for farmer-households was almost the same as for business households and just a shade above the ICS for salaried employees. But farmer-households have shown a much smarter recovery since the early 2020s. The ICS for farmer-households has been consistently higher than all other household groups throughout the post-April 2020 period.

As of December 2022, the ICS for farmer-households was 11.5 per cent higher than the average ICS. Earlier, in November 2022 it was 15.7 per cent higher.

Households of business persons accounted for 20 per cent of all households in 2021-22. Their share in total households has been rising steadily. It was 14 per cent in 2014-15, 15 per cent in 2015-16, 16 per cent in 2016-17, 18 per cent in 2017-18 and then 20 per cent since 2018-19.

The share of these households in total household income, however, has not grown similarly. They accounted for 19 per cent of the total household incomes in 2014-15. This grew to 20 per cent in 2016-17 and then to 24 per cent in 2018-19. Since then it has declined to 20 per cent.

The ICS of business households remains a shade below and tracks, very closely, movements in the overall ICS. In November 2022, for the first time in over two years, the ICS for business persons jumped over the overall ICS. But, it could not sustain that in December.

Households of salaried employees and of farmers, who collectively account for about 45 per cent of all households and 52 per cent of the total household incomes, seem to be sustaining the growth in consumer sentiments.

Unemployment Rate (30-DAY MVG. AVG.)
Per cent
7.1 -0.1
Consumer Sentiments Index
Base September-December 2015
84.6 -0.2
Consumer Expectations Index
Base September-December 2015
83.7 0.0
Current Economic Conditions Index
Base September-December 2015
86.0 -0.5
Quarterly CapEx Aggregates
(Rs.trillion) Mar 22 Jun 22 Sep 22 Dec 22
New projects 8.68 5.20 4.42 6.68
Completed projects 1.33 1.18 1.36 1.61
Stalled projects 0.43 0.53 0.07 0.01
Revived projects 0.33 0.29 0.12 0.32
Implementation stalled projects 0.09 0.29 0.26 0.11
Updated on: 05 Feb 2023 8:28PM
Quarterly Financials of Listed Companies
(% change) Mar 22 Jun 22 Sep 22 Dec 22
All listed Companies
 Income 20.8 40.1 25.2 19.8
 Expenses 19.8 41.4 27.1 20.6
 Net profit 31.6 21.1 -1.4 5.7
 PAT margin (%) 8.8 7.2 7.8 9.9
 Count of Cos. 4,686 4,704 4,578 1,301
Non-financial Companies
 Income 24.8 50.1 27.9 18.5
 Expenses 25.7 52.9 31.5 20.5
 Net profit 10.1 8.4 -21.0 -12.7
 PAT margin (%) 7.6 5.7 5.7 7.1
 Net fixed assets 2.0 4.1
 Current assets 15.0 19.1
 Current liabilities 11.7 10.4
 Borrowings 3.5 12.8
 Reserves & surplus 11.2 7.6
 Count of Cos. 3,398 3,424 3,371 944
Numbers are net of P&E
Updated on: 05 Feb 2023 8:28PM
Annual Financials of All Companies
(% change) FY20 FY21 FY22
All Companies
 Income 0.6 -1.4 26.0
 Expenses 0.3 -3.6 24.9
 Net profit -3.0 74.5 63.3
 PAT margin (%) 2.0 4.5 7.2
 Assets 8.9 10.7 9.9
 Net worth 4.8 12.0 14.0
 RONW (%) 3.4 6.9 11.5
 Count of Cos. 31,839 30,688 14,155
Non-financial Companies
 Income -1.1 -2.5 30.7
 Expenses -0.9 -4.4 30.4
 Net profit -20.5 62.4 61.3
 PAT margin (%) 2.3 4.0 6.2
 Net fixed assets 11.4 2.4 2.1
 Net worth 2.1 10.6 14.5
 RONW (%) 4.7 7.6 12.7
 Debt / Equity (times) 1.1 1.0 0.8
 Interest cover (times) 1.9 2.5 4.0
 Net working capital cycle (days) 73 82 59
 Count of Cos. 25,106 24,021 11,477
Numbers are net of P&E
Updated on: 04 Feb 2023 5:32PM