Indians Spent a Lot on Streaming App Subscriptions During Lockdown But Ecommerce Was Badly Hit

It was perhaps always going to make for interesting reading. How Indians spent their money during the lockdown, has as expected, varied drastically across regions and usage demographics. Financial services and credit card payment platform CRED has shared numbers to illustrate what its users spent on, or prioritized spending on, during the COVID lockdown months of March and April. It turns out that digital subscriptions, which included subscriptions for streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video and Zee5 increased substantially. But it wasn’t just video streaming apps that gained—CRED users were also spending on online classes and e-newspaper subscriptions. CRED says in April, Delhi saw a rise of 18%, Bangalore of 11% and Mumbai of 8% in subscription spends, carrying forward the trend seen in March as soon as the lockdown started.

While expenditure on dining out was expected to be hit as everything was closed off, surprisingly, online food ordering also reduced significantly with individuals spending more on groceries and preparing food at home more regularly. Physical grocery spends rose significantly Delhi by as much as 27%, while it increased in Mumbai by 23% but surprisingly remained stagnant in Bangalore, in March. However, online grocery spends spiked in Bangalore with a 44% increase, which indicates users there are more comfortable with the online platforms, while Delhi also ordered 38% more groceries online and Mumbai ordered 29% more—all in March, as people came to terms with the lockdown. At the same time, food orders on online platforms saw decreased spends in Delhi by 62% and about 61% lesser in Mumbai in April, while Bengaluru seemed to like the idea of ordering in food—it saw a comparatively lesser decline of 43%.

CRED says that credit card usage dropped 10% in March, the same month when the lockdown was first enforced. In April, the month which saw lockdown through from the beginning to the end, credit card usage reduced by 51%. A lot of that is attributed to the fact that offline stores were shut and ecommerce websites such as Amazon and Flipkart were not accepting any orders except for essential items.

CRED has analyzed the spending data of more than a million members, who use the CRED app to pay their credit card bills every month. The company insists that the data is based on aggregated and anonymized insights from user spends.