….And the coronavirus epidemic continues, throwing up an unprecedented global crisis, testing the skills of politicians, policy makers, industry leaders, health workers, down to the most ordinary individuals. Each country has followed a different strategy to “flatten the curve” and India has adopted the unique model of a 21 day “lock down” across the country, asking its citizens to stay at home.
As we transition through this lockdown, can you keep an open mind to spot some emerging trends? Can you look at unlocking some opportunities as the dust settles down?
Work from home is now a reality. In fact, NASSCOM recently announced that the biggest priority for the IT/ ITeS industry is to shift almost 90 percent of its 4.36 million work force to a work-from-home model. With this new decentralized method becoming mainstream, it will lead to a permanent change in lifestyle. Majority of the consumers will spend more time at home and that will mean a change of course in the “go to market” strategy for many products. If you already have a robust business model of serving consumers at home through online and e-commerce, you need to bolster it immediately. If you have an offline distribution model, you will need to immediately pivot to an online model. The marketing spend will also need to be fine-tuned and it is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity of grabbing the attention of so many captive consumers at home.
India has a staggering 65 million micro, small and medium enterprises. Most of them should have embraced a digital model many years back – but unfortunately, resisted the change. They will now be forced to adopt a digital model for all aspects of their business – payments, customer interactions, fulfillment, purchases, billing etc. “Digitize or die” will have be their new mantra. This will spawn an entire range of opportunities for products and services which will help them go down this track – from hardware and software, to Apps and services.
Health & Hygiene
“Health is Wealth” is an old adage and will now be back on top of the agenda for everyone. HR Heads will now be foisted with the additional responsibility of ensuring good health for all the employees of their company. As “social distancing” becomes the new normal, it will lead to changes in office configurations. Demand for employee health record management systems will increase substantially. After the spate of terrorist attacks in recent years, it is now normal to have a security check of all visitors to an office. Post coronavirus, we will also see temperature checks as a normal feature everywhere. In their personal space as well all consumers will arrive at a better realization of good hygiene and end up consuming products which help in building a strong and robust immune system. Aspects of hygiene will certainly be prioritized. And this will include a higher demand for all offerings leading to healthier mind – yoga, meditation and personal well-being products and services.
The combined impact of businesses transitioning to a digital model, online meetings becoming mainstream and a large number of employees working from home will lead to an upsurge in demand for online tools and Apps for communication and collaboration as well. Online management of project will require sophisticated project management software. The need for online methods of skilling, upskilling and reskilling will grow, leading to huge spike in demand for good online education content. At a personal level, home entertainment content will see an upsurge and so will gaming and other education content for children spending more time at home. All this will inevitably lead to a higher demand for a good data network.
And will we now witness a generation of “baby-boomers”? Certainly something to think about….as the last generation of “baby boomers” born post World War II resulted in the birth of a huge base of a new generation of consumers demanding a new set of products! Will we see something similar play itself out now? And just extending with a creative suggestion – will this new generation be called “quaranteens” because of the present government advisory; or will we take from Hariharan and Leslie Lewis’ classic hit ‘Colonial Cousins’, and call them “coronial cousins”? Only time will tell. Until then, keep exploring how to unlock opportunities in the time of lockdown and rediscover yourself and your world.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.