Indian consumers didn’t buy made in China items Survey

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Residents wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus line up to receive their vaccine at a vaccination point at the Central Business District in Beijing.

About half of Indian consumers surveyed said they did not buy made-in-China products in the past 12 months as an aftermath of the border tensions with China, a report by online firm LocalCircles on Monday said.

The report is based on a survey, which was conducted during June 1-10 and covered 17,800 citizens residing in 281 districts of the country.

Imports from China, however, increased 42 per cent year-on-year during January-May 2021, due to a rise in the import of life-saving medical equipment and medical oxygen equipment by India from China, according to the report.

“In reality, China’s share in Indian imports for intermediate goods is 12 per cent, and capital goods is 30 per cent, while final consumer goods is 26 per cent.

“The first question in the survey sought to understand how many products that were made in China did Indian consumers purchase in the past 12 months. In response, 43 per cent said they did not buy anything made in China,” the report said.

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in clash between India and Chinese troops in boarder escalation at the Galwan Valley in June 2020.

The Indian Army in a statement had said that there were casualties on both sides.

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Breaking down the poll, LocalCircles said 34 per cent respondents said they purchased 1-2 products, and 8 per cent bought 3-5 of them.

“There were also four per cent of consumers who bought 5-10 made-in-China products, three per cent said 10-15, one per cent said over 20, and another one per cent said 15-20 products. Six per cent of Indian consumers did not have an opinion,” the report said.

After the attack on Indian soldiers on the India-China border, many Indians had expressed their intent to boycott Chinese-made products.

Another LocalCircles survey, conducted in November 2020 (around the festive season), indicated that 71 per cent of Indian consumers did not purchase Made-in-China products, and many of those who ended up buying was because of lower prices.

“Though Chinese trade with India declined in calendar year 2020 by 5.6 per cent to USD 87.6 billion, the 5 months of calendar year 2021 show a 42 per cent increase in Chinese imports by value,” the latest report said.

It added that LocalCircles research suggests that this surge was particularly due to the rise in import of life-saving medical equipment and medical oxygen equipment by India from China as COVID-19 cases surged in the country.

According to the latest survey report, household earnings were severely impacted with lockdowns and for some, buying the lowest cost product was not a choice but the only option and, hence, they ended up buying Chinese items.

India’s economic recovery, which looked on solid footing in January 2021 with leading global institutions predicting 11 per cent GDP growth for 2021-22, has hit another speed bump with the lethal second COVID-19 wave putting almost all states in a 45-60 day lockdown, the report said.

They survey found that 60 per cent who bought made-in-China products purchased only 1-2 items, 14 per cent said they bought 3-5 products, seven per cent bought 5-10, two per cent said 10-15, and another two per cent said more than 20 products.

“It must be kept in mind that there are many Made-in-China products that do not have an Indian counterpart that offer similar or higher value-quality-uniqueness combinations.

“Similarly, many global manufacturers of gadgets and appliances have their factories in China producing for global demand and while such products may carry a global brand name, they are produced in China,” the report said.

It added that during the pandemic in 2020 and in 2021, many Indian purchased pulse oximeters to measure their SPo2 levels and 90 per cent of these oximeters available in India were made in China.

“Majority Indian consumers who purchased made-in-China products did so because they are the cheapest available option and offer value for money,” the report said.

It, however, added that 40 per cent of them also highlighted uniqueness and 38 per cent highlighted quality as a differentiator and “that is something the Government of India and Indian manufacturers and MSMEs must act upon”.

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