Updated February 25th, 2024 at 11:38 IST

Consumers prefer discretionary items over food staples, reveals Pan-India official survey

The Household Consumption Expenditure Survey indicates a rise in average rural consumer spending, reaching Rs 3,773 ($45.54) per month per person.

Reported by: Business Desk
Discretionary spending surges | Image:Republic Business

Household consumption expenditure: Consumers in the country are shifting their spending patterns, allocating less towards food staples such as rice and wheat, and more towards discretionary items like processed foods, as well as durable goods like televisions and refrigerators, according to recent government data on household consumption expenditure. 

The Household Consumption Expenditure Survey, released over the weekend, indicates a significant increase in average rural consumer spending, reaching Rs 3,773 ($45.54) per month per person, up from Rs 1,430 in the previous survey conducted in 2011-2012. Similarly, urban spending saw a notable rise to Rs 6,459 ($77.95) per month per person, compared to Rs 2,630 previously.


Notably, the government's decision to skip the 2017-2018 survey due to "data quality issues" raised concerns about transparency in economic data reporting, though officials have refuted claims of deliberate concealment of weak consumption trends.

The latest survey highlights a decline in the proportion of monthly consumption expenditure dedicated to food, dropping to 46 per cent for rural consumers (from nearly 53 per cent in 2011-12) and 39 per cent for urban consumers (down from 43 per cent). This shift includes reduced spending on cereals and pulses, coupled with increased expenditure on beverages, refreshments, and processed foods.


Furthermore, there is an observable trend towards higher spending on non-food items such as conveyance, consumer services, and durable goods like televisions and refrigerators.

These findings precede India's upcoming elections scheduled for May, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi vying for a rare third term. Despite optimistic growth forecasts for the country's economy, challenges persist, particularly for rural populations facing stagnant incomes and elevated inflation rates.


(With Reuters inputs)


Published February 25th, 2024 at 10:59 IST