Purpose: To understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted investment and financial decisions of individuals in small towns in developing nations such as India.
Methodology: A literature review was undertaken on COVID-19 and steps taken by the government to fight the pandemic. A sample survey was conducted to determine the impact of COVID-19 on individuals’ financial transactions in Madhya Pradesh (MP) . The respondents either belonged to the service sector or owned businesses. The relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and change in investment decisions of individuals with respect to SIPs was studied.
Findings: Significant association was found between measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (such as lockdown and travel restrictions) and individual income; such preventive measures directly impacted savings and investment behaviour. Indeed, respondents reported a 43% drop in SIP investments during the COVID-19 pandemic. While decline in investment was common to genders, the difference between percentage decline was statistically non-significant. Furthermore, investment behaviour did not vary with investor age.
Research Implications: Results highlight the socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak at the micro-level and may enable financial institutions and individuals to better handle such situations in future. The scope of the present research is limited. Future studies could consider larger samples and different contexts to gain deeper insights into the socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies could also suggest policies and measures to help governments effectively deal with future crises.
Originality/ Value: Hitherto, the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on investment decisions of individuals in Tier 3 cities had remained under-examined; this is one of the first studies to carry out such an investigation.