India has topped Credit Suisse Emerging Consumer Scorecard 2016, remaining the most optimistic among nine nations surveyed by the Zurich-based financial services company.
Falling commodity prices, weak currencies and heightened political risks have taken their toll on emerging markets over the last 12 months. However, consumers in India and China demonstrated confidence in their future finances and expected less inflation pressure, the survey noted.
China and Saudi Arabia shared the second position. Indonesia, which stood at the fourth place, was followed by Turkey (5th), Mexico (6th), Brazil (7th), South Africa (7th) and Russia (8th).
"India comes out on top. While there may have been a degree of disappointment in terms of the follow-through in terms of policy after the election of the new government in some of the official indicators, relative strengths of Indian consumer still stand out in the emerging world, particularly where income is concerned," said the survey. In 2015 too, India was at the top position.
According to the survey, the average income of Indian respondents has risen compared with a decline across emerging markets. However, income expectations have moderated.
“While there has been a degree of moderation in expectations after the initial post-election euphoria, Indian consumers stand out amongst their emerging market peers with higher confidence about their current and future finances and relatively lower inflation expectations,” the survey said.
For most categories, however, India has amongst the lowest penetration rates and the survey has pointed out fast growth in consumption in categories with low penetration such as female hygiene products and smartphones.
"Weak currencies, political risk and commodity exposures all contributed to the wide range of consumer sentiment expressed in this year's report. The negativity in Russia, South Africa and Brazil contrasted sharply with the relative optimism apparent in India, China and Saudi Arabia," said Credit Suisse deputy global chief investment officer Giles Keating.
The Credit Suisse Emerging Consumer survey, which is conducted by market research firm Nielsen and is in its sixth year, is based on nearly 16,000 face-to-face interviews across nine economies.