Forget cars, Indian consumers are wary of buying a ₹5 biscuit packet

An Indian consumer at a grocery store
  • With their sales being hit, the Indian business community which has so far been an active supporter of the Indian government, has been raising its voices.
  • Britannia’s MD Varun Berry said there is some serious issue in the economy.
  • He’s not alone, leaders from the auto industry have raised their concerns as the segment is witnessing its worst sales slowdown.
Questions are being raised by top Indian businessmen about the economic health of the country. The latest one to cry foul is fast moving consumer goods company Britannia.

In the latest earnings call of Britannia, the company’s MD Varun Berry raised some serious concerns about the Indian economy. "We've grown only 6% and the market is growing slower than that. And that's a little bit of a worry, because even for a ₹5 product if the consumer is thinking twice before buying it, then there is some serious issue in the economy,” he said.

This comes in even though Britannia holds one-third of market share in the Indian biscuit industry.

With their sales hit, the Indian business community which has so far been an active supporter of the Indian government, has been raising its voices.

India’s GDP has slumped to 6.8% in FY19, whereas analysts say that for India to reach its dream of being a $5 trillion economy, the country’s GDP needs to grow steadily at 9%.

The industry that has been worst hit has the auto industry which has seen a massive slowdown in sales has seen.

Auto industry leaders like Pawan Munjal of HeroCorp, RC Bhargava of Maruti, Anand Mahindra of Mahindra & Mahindra, have all been rallying for reduction of GST to boost growth in sales.

Rahul Bajaj, the chairman of Indian conglomerate Bajaj Group. During his company’s Annual General Meeting, he spoke of the government’s role in the weak sales of the auto industry.

“There is no demand and no private investment, so where will growth come from? It doesn’t fall from the heavens. The auto industry is going through a very difficult period. Cars, commercial vehicles and two-wheelers are going through a rough patch,” Bajaj added.

Earlier, Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej group, too said that the Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is not “growth-oriented”. Godrej also touched upon a sensitive subject saying that rising intolerance in the country is also affecting growth.

However, there are also some who believe this is just a phase. HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh in the recent annual general meeting of the bank said, “While there has been an across-the-board slowdown in consumption, given the inherent demand and low penetration levels, I believe this is temporary in nature.”
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