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Data Reveals the changing dynamics of India’s Top Spenders post COVID 19


In 2020, members indulged more through credit cards on select categories while spending responsibly on others.

The pandemic and its effects have transformed every aspect of life, including attitudes, actions, and behaviours when it comes to money.

By analysing credit card spending behaviour in 2020 of India’s most creditworthy people, CRED has found that the caution exercised during the days of lockdown transformed selectively into exuberance during the festive season and has stayed there since. That said, CRED observed some fundamental, long-term shifts in how Indians manage their money – by becoming more agile and careful, and increasing digital’s share of wallet, letting them pursue indulgences of choice more boldly, while still remaining cautious about spending in general.

Data found that CRED members have spent 6 per cent more on shopping and food on their credit cards during the festive season compared to even pre-COVID times indicating an extremely positive outlook to indulging themselves.

Indulgent Pursuits Helped Members Stay Afloat

To survive the lockdown and during these dreary work from home days, CRED members have indulged in at-home experiences and retail therapy to overcome their blues. This is evident from shopping and food seeing the highest credit card spends through the year and recovering to more than pre-COVID-19 levels at the end of 2020. 

  • Shopping and food incurred maximum indulgence with the most credit card spends by members averaging almost 36 per cent of total credit card expenditure throughout the year.
  • During the pre-lockdown phase, members used 35 per cent of their plastic money to buy items that they’ve been eyeing for a while or exploring various cuisines from the comforts of their homes. This rose to 41 per cent during the festive season to ring in new beginnings. 
  • On average, the month of October 2020 saw the highest spends on food and shopping with 48 per cent of the total card spend across cities. 

Travel dipped by 9 per cent from the pre-lockdown (15 per cent) phase to lockdown (6 per cent), making it the only category with the highest decline in spends. That being said, travel has increased by 2 per cent.

However, the pandemic disrupted payment cycles and financial discipline during the lockdown but a good thing, post-lockdown timely payments are back! 

Methodology and Sample Size

For this analysis, CRED analysed the share of credit card spends of over 1 million members across Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, out of the total of 5.9 million members. The data and insights gathered from the study help in understanding larger trends reflected in spending behaviour of affluent consumers across four time periods – Pre-lockdown (December 2019-March 2020), During lockdown (April-June 2020), Post-lockdown (July-September 2020) and finally, the festive season (October-December 2020). 

Data analysed is relative credit card spends made across categories, aimed at providing direction on the types of purchases members are using their credit cards for. The data capture results across various expenditure categories where CRED members made payments on their credit cards such as banking and finance, travel, fitness and wellness, infotainment, food and shopping, wallets and digital payments and utility bill payments. 

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