Coronavirus-induced lockdowns across the country have transformed consumers' buying behaviour and hyperlocal distribution model, and distribution alliances and an omni-channel strategy will be key to business growth, according to a joint report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India and FICCI.
As per the report, called 'REBOOT', while the pandemic brought massive disruptions across the value chain of the consumer sector, most companies adapted by building agile business models and innovative marketing strategies, along with expanding their presence through the online platforms to reach their consumers.
"The prolonged lockdowns have also dramatically transformed consumer buying behaviour while making them more health and socially conscious," Deloitte India Partner Rajat Wahi said.
He added that this has created new opportunities for businesses to develop hyperlocal delivery models, use conversational AI (artificial intelligence) and build omni-channel retail to acquire and serve customers.
"As brands adapt to the 'new normal', the key to sustenance and growth is likely to be an agile business model that minimises disruptions in the future," Wahi said.
The report said demand for consumer goods in rural markets has increased due to the return of the migrant workers to their states due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"COVID-19 has led to massive reverse migration, which in turn has driven up rural demand, favouring companies with strong rural distribution," it said.
The report also said health concerns and the need to build immunity have led consumers to buy home sanitation and immunity-boosting products.
"As a result, these categories have seen major growth since March 2020, and this is likely to continue into 2021," the report said.
It pointed out that the companies had to reconfigure their distribution models to explore omni-channel models.
"The pandemic, with frequent lockdowns, compelled companies to re-configure their distribution models within a short period, even forging new partnerships and alliances to achieve that," it added.
The report also emphasises on the need for consumer brands to reboot their businesses in view of the disruption and the changing consumer behaviour.
As businesses need to realign their business models and partnerships, enhance consumer experience through technology and analytics, build resilient distribution, develop their omni-channel presence, operate efficiently, and thrive by focusing on sustainability, the report said. P