This, they said, will lead to a further recovery of the market in the quarter through March.
This has come as a relief for consumer goods makers as sales in November were dull and most of December. The winter period — December-January — is crucial for categories like skin cream, moisturiser, chyawanprash, tea, coffee, winter wear and room and water heaters, accounting for up to 80% of their annual sales depending on the category.
Reliance Retail’s head of strategy and business development, Gaurav Jain, told analysts last week that there was a little bit of a delay in winter which impacted some of the categories related to winter in the North and East. “But over the fag end of December, we saw a strong pick up,” said the senior executive at India’s largest retailer, adding that this came after discretionary spending got impacted in November.
Even for winter appliances like room and water heaters, retailers and manufacturers were worried about stocks piling up, but the pickup in demand has now eased inventory pressures.
Electronics retail chain Vijay Sales director Nilesh Gupta said sales of water heaters had grown 15% and room heaters expanded 7-8% in the past four weeks over a year earlier. “The stock position is now fine,” he said.
Several places in the North also reported a prolonged cold wave earlier this month with minimum temperatures dropping below the normal level. This boosted consumption. Marketers say the pickup in sales — coinciding with end of season sales for categories like apparel — indicated improvement of consumer sentiment which is expected to continue with inflation abating.“We have sold out most of our winter wear stock,” said Woodland managing director Harkirat Singh. “Sentiments are not bad though we were cautious due to post-Covid impact, inflation and fear of recessionary trend. Sales are up by 15% over 2019 (pre-Covid) winter,” he said.
Hindustan Unilever reported an impact on the performance of skin care and colour cosmetics in the December quarter due to delayed winter.
Dabur in a recent investor note said demand trends for the industry remained weak during the December quarter with rural markets continuing to remain under pressure. “This was further accentuated by the late onset of winter in North India. However, early signs of moderate recovery were visible towards the latter part of the quarter,” Dabur said.