Teji Mandi: Consumer behaviour and business dynamics go through a sea change due to COVID-19
Teji Mandi: Consumer behaviour and business dynamics go through a sea change due to COVID-19

The world, going through a pandemic, is changing by every passing day. Covid-19 has left some irrevokable marks that have changed human behaviour forever. The impact of these behavioural changes, positive or negative, will certainly challenge the current business dynamics.

Remember, many of the changes, like digitalization, was already in motion even before the pandemic struck us. However, the pace of these changes has been in a fast lane during the last 4-5 months. These rapid changes have boosted the telecom, paving way for fibre optic network expansion in the country. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in his independence day speech, India will connect more than six lakh villages with an optical fibre network in less than three years.

The importance of cleanliness and sanitization has made a big comeback in human life. FMCGs identified this theme and responded with ramped up production of hand sanitizers in the last 5-6 months. Vegetable cleaning also emerged as a completely new theme and new products were launched under this category during the first quarter.

With cleanliness and social distancing becoming new normal, the online food delivery business has a huge potential in the post-COVID 19 world. According to Zomato, the food delivery industry has largely recovered with the overall sector clocking around 75-80% of pre-COVID Gross Merchandise Volume. This is in quite a contrast to the restaurant industry that continues to incur major losses owing to the lockdowns.

According to Zomato, work from home (WFH) has also helped in expanding their business to non-metro cities. With various companies allowing employees to work from home due to the pandemic, there has been a mass exodus of people from metros to different cities pan India. Zomato revealed that one in every five Zomato customers in metros (pre-COVID) has opened the app from a smaller town recently.

Continuing with the effect of work from home culture, the trend has surely caught up; especially in the IT industry. Heavyweights like TCS, Infosys and Tech Mahindra are planning WFH for 70-75% of its staff even in a post-COVID-19 world.

The IT companies are already in the process of reducing the office space that they held. It will result in less commercial space and office-related expenses, reflecting positively on their bottom lines.

Amid these positive changes, hospitality, travel and tourism remain the most affected industry. Business travel has come to a standstill while leisure tourists are preferring short trips to local destinations, in proximity to their residence. The sentiments are unlikely to improve anytime soon as several restrictions on train and air travelling remain firmly in place.

The entertainment industry is another example where forced changes in the behavioural pattern are helping newer models to replace the existing ones.

With world-class content available on OTT platforms, people are getting used to watching movies from the comfort of their homes. The trend gathered a further pace as big-budget moviemakers also started to release their movies on OTT platforms. Going ahead, audiences are more likely to shift to OTTs for low budget movies of routine nature.

While theatres will still be able to survive the OTT onslaught, paradigms have certainly shifted for the television industry. There is a high chance of audience shifting from television to OTT platform in search of fresh content. More advertisers are also likely to shift online, which caters to a largely millennial audience.

Key takeaways:

Mankind has evolved over the centuries by finding opportunities in every adversity. Covid-19 and the world post that will be no different. While it has disrupted lives in many ways, ceratin new opportunities are also appearing on the horizon.

These opportunities and new changes will take us into the future and those businesses who will be the first to identify and adopt these changes will have whole new avenues of growth available to them.

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Free Press Journal