Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Digital Transformation 11

The chain of incidents that unfolded globally March 2020 onwards, have transformed the world forever. No crisis that the world faced in the past century can match the stature of Covid-19 pandemic. Even after 6 months of fighting the novel coronavirus, uncertainty, fear and anxiety continue to remain the dominant forces driving consumer sentiments of over 70% Indian people.

One of the worst effects of the unrelenting pandemic has been lasting damage to the morale and confidence of the population in general. People are feeling vulnerable as the number of cases continue rising every day. Large organizations should pay heed to the rising sensitivity of the people and modify their brand messaging accordingly to resonate and connect with the consumers.

Digital Acceleration

If one had to pick a second hero of the pandemic, after the frontline Covid workers, it would definitely be digital technology. Availability of the digital medium for shopping, medical consultations working or studying helped people to cope with the daily woes and disruptions created by the pandemic.

94.5% of the respondents working remotely have adjusted to the virtual working environment and about 40% felt positive about this change. 75% say saving on commute time and 65% say being able to spend more time with family are the things they like about working from home.

Almost all schools and colleges are now teaching students via digital platforms and students have adapted to the change well enough. 80% students are availing online live sessions for their studies, however, 62% are missing their school and college friends. 46% students said they are now open to consider taking online courses, increasing the scope and demand for accredited online course.

Entertainment and news on digital medium and OTT platforms have risen phenomenally. Webinars, online concerts, virtual summits and networking meets also witnessed high user participation. Use of digital payments and banking services have also risen considerably.

Community ties and healthy living

Pandemic related interactions dominate community exchanges in general. 18% people report interacting more frequently with their neighbors to enforce adequate safety measures. 26% say they feel more connected with people after the lockdown due to increased interaction via phone or digital platforms. Health has taken center-stage in the lockdown scenario. 32% respondents have consulted doctors online. 79% are working towards healthier food habits while 33% are exercising at home by themselves and with online video support.

Emerging spending patterns

The general sentiment regarding spending is rather bleak. As the feeling of uncertainty dominates the mind of consumers, 44% said they would postpone all big spends (cars, home appliances, etc.) while 56% expect to reduce spending on non-essentials. Only 14% are ready to travel and 18% are likely to eat out after the lockdown is lifted. 48% have expressed their likeliness to postpone family vacations to next year and over 70% don’t think they will go to a theatre or shopping mall in 3 months post lifting of lockdown. Since most people anticipate staying at home for few more months, home furniture, home ergonomics and the like might experience some consumer spending.

At present, the population in general is coming to terms with the blow brought by Covid-19. Staying fit and healthy is the sole objective of utmost importance for all. As the phased unlock progresses the sentiments would eventually brighten up, especially with the onset of the festive season. However, in near future any surge in spending is expected to come via the online channels as most people are trying their best to avoid physical shopping.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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