Inflation has Indian middle class skimping on extras

New Delhi, August 4:

Higher inflation and increasing interest rates have forced middle class consumers to cut back their spending on shopping, amusement and eating out by nearly 55 per cent in the last one year, according to a survey by an industry lobby.

The survey, done by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), said majority of middle class consumers slashed their entertainment and luxury spending by 55 per cent, which has come down from Rs 5,000-6,000 per month to less than Rs 2,800.

Rising inflation that has already hit a 13-year high at 11.98 per cent has pinched the middle class most.

The survey said the double-digit inflation and higher cost of money had not affected the high income group (HIG) during the period as it did not imbalance their earnings and spending.

Releasing the survey, Assocham president Sajjan Jindal said here: “The high income group of the country remained totally immune to the rising cost of economy as their income levels hardly got severed despite rising cost of inputs.”

“On an average, monthly spending of the HIG on shopping, amusements and eating out is estimated over Rs 20,000 which was almost the same when inflation was within the limit of seven per cent,” he added.

The survey added that the HIG, particularly the younger lot and working couples with double income, spends more than 30 per cent of its income on clothes, shoes, movies, and buying movie and music CDs on weekends.

This group’s commuting patterns, mostly by cars, also remained unaffected despite sky-high fuel costs. While urban men spend almost Rs 400-1,000 per month on cigarettes, gutka and paan, urban women spend around Rs 300-1,200 per month on cosmetics and beauty treatments.

“With the rising number of shopping malls, retail outlets and discount sale in the major metros, most of the urban younger populace continues to purchase mostly branded items for themselves even when they don’t really require it,” the survey elaborated.