Sujith K, 35, who is working as an IT professional in Delhi, India, has taken to work from home just as the Indian Government imposed the lockdown to control the spread of COVID19 in the country. Living alone in the city, the primary consumption behavior of Sujith has seen a sudden but meaningful shift. Right from the moment, he starts his day, his consumption patterns are defined by the rules and regulations of the Government. Being an avid newspaper reader, he now misses to read them and has taken to news apps. Now, he can hardly order his favorite food from his favorite outlet. No moving out to public places and no air travel for at least a few months, not even a business trip.
Well, this is the story of lakhs of people like Sujith. And this is not just limited to India, but the whole world which is put into the health crisis. While the pandemic severely impacts the rich and the middle-class, the weaker section of people is facing an entirely different scenario- scrambling for food and essentials.
Talking about the companies, many of them have taken up tight measures to survive and reinvent themselves soon. And just like Sir Issac Newton did a lot of exciting inventions in the field of science and maths during his quarantine period when the Great Plague of London hit in 1665-1666, businesses too shall revive with innovations after this pandemic.
However, something else has come up that will last for a long time- transition in consumer behavior and their buying habits.
In the following section of this article, let us know how changing consumer behavior has and will impact these top 5 market sectors.
1.First and foremost, which mode will rule our shopping?
With the growth of online shopping sites like Flipkart and Amazon, retailers in India were already suffering. The spread of the pandemic has hurt the retailers with lockdowns and containment policies that include the closure of malls. Brand sales have fallen by as much as 70% in March. Even the online business has cut down by 15% as consumers lower their discretionary expenses.
Even after the ongoing pandemic, with social distancing as the new standard of living, people will reach the retail stores only for the essentials, and the rest will be accomplished online. A lot of people are going to realize that they don’t need as much as they used to spend- consuming less as recession steps in. Thus, retail shopping will see no ray of light soon. To find new ways of brand positioning, these stores needs to embrace technology and try to remove the fear as customers move through a store.
2. Are we traveling again soon?
As per a recent report, “The coronavirus pandemic would have a debilitating impact on India’s tourism sector with the industry estimating an overall loss of ₹5 lakh crore and job cuts for 4-5 crore people.” Not only in India, ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ is the new way of life around the world. These companies have seen a definite drop in their profits in the last couple of weeks and have also taken decisive measures by slashing wages and laying offs employees. And once we recover from this pandemic, people would still ignore unnecessary trips and consider online communication methods instead.
3. How is the health and beauty industry responding?
Before the spread of coronavirus, the health and beauty industry was booming with more and more utility products, with the increasing desire of men and women to look physically appealing. But now, home self-care has become more popular. It is leading people to get more creative and experiment with their looks. There’s nothing wrong with it, but this could severely affect the health and beauty businesses.
Poshly CEO Doreen Bloch already said, “Once the COVID-19 crisis is over, what we expect is that people will still be very cautious about their intimate experiences with service providers, and I think that’s going to be a long-term hit.” According to a report by Poshly, customers are now prioritizing skincare over make up, considering affordable brands.
Thus, it can be said that preventative and safe beauty products see a sharp rise in demand. Say, for example, hand sanitizers and hand creams make to the list of personal and beauty care products during the pandemic.
4. Are we saving with ride-sharing, again?
Probably, no. People will be more concerned about social distancing and will prefer their own vehicles. South Korean automobile company Hyundai already reports that it sees a silver lining amid the gloomy surroundings. Considering physical isolation, the company is preparing to ramp up the online sales of its vehicle. At the same time, MG Motor India believes that this pandemic will introduce the concept of YOLO (you only live once), so people might start spending more on things like a luxury car. They are also likely to consider new-energy vehicles because there’s already plenty of discussion about reducing emissions during the lockdown. Thus it can be said that the automobile industry will see a new spike with the changing consumer demands.
5. Last but not the least, what about entertainment?
The cinemas are closed, social gathering, clubbing, and all such sources of entertainment have also gone for a toss. Now, as everyone has to stay at home, they are back to the age of streaming and downloading. Luckily, companies like NetFlix, Amazon Prime, and online game apps are already there for the rescue. And we can’t thank them enough.
But what’s more interesting here is that, in India, the most popular TV series Ramayana is re-telecasted for the entertainment of the quarantined. The mythological epic on DD National recorded 51 million viewers-highest since 2015 in the general entertainment channel space- on March 29 evening. Also, India’s total TV consumption grew upto 1.2 trillion minutes, with an average of 62 million viewers during the ongoing lockdown period. It is according to the estimates made by Broadcast Audience Research Council and Nielsen. Thus we can see that entertainment has seen a new cultural shift during the coronavirus shutdown. We can ideally name it as ‘stay at home entertainment.’