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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How do you visualize the impact of coronavirus on the FMCG and consumer durable sector? Do you foresee a demand revival by 2021?

With regards the FMCG sector, we are seeing heightened concerns around hygiene, and nutrition/immunity, and supply side disruptions. Staples, healthy foods, immunity/nutrition supplements, saw high traction. With incomes under pressure, accessible price points, value packs see traction. In staples, we are seeing accelerated shifts from unbranded/loose to packaged products. With lockdowns lifting, consumer goods demand is also seeing recovery. Beauty products are also seeing sequential recovery.

As a result of restricted economic activity that has cast uncertainty over household finances and future employment, do you think consumers will be more careful while spending on the brands they love?

Yes, consumers are downsizing. In staples, foods, hygiene, nutrition/immunity supplements, trusted brands are preferred and hence still fetch premiums. With accessible price points and value packs, brands can drive traction. Discretionary products are seeing down trading.

Owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, FMCG & consumer goods companies have been facing multiple challenges to get goods to reach consumers. Manufacturing, supply chain breakdowns and labour challenges have been some key issues that the companies have been facing for a long time and this forced organizations to remodel their strategies. Are these strategies short term or long term?

E-commerce channel traction is here to stay. The category has leapfrogged in terms of consumer adoption. These new behaviours are here to stay. It offers safety, convenience and value. Even when we return to normalcy, a significant proportion of new shoppers will stay with the channel, and not go back to brick and mortar shopping. So, this channel will continue to be a key channel.

Supply chain disruptions have now normalised. But, flexibility to handle both, spikes in demand, and supply side challenges in micro pockets, built in during Covid times, shall help organisations.

What will the future of work, jobs and careers look like after COVID19?

The use of technology to drive productivity shall be a key shift. Remote working is here to stay. Upskilling and capability building, will be needed to adjust to the heightened digital work system.

Will rural India revive better than urban India?

With rural having lesser threats of second waves of infection, it will revive better. It is driven more by monsoons, crop prices, government support on MSPs/employment/agricultural incomes.

What are the 5 things you would suggest brands to adopt as they evolve post-pandemic?

1) Products: Superfoods/immunity boosters/fortified products, will gain traction. With heightened concerns around immunity, health, hygiene, brands need to root their products in these verticals.

2) Communication: Shared household work, appreciation of the medical profession and the police forces, are the new learnings. These new Stories, will resonate better. Brands with purpose, with a heart, will win.

3) Media: Our Media plans will change hugely. Digital will be over-indexed. A huge chunk of consumers who were not digitally active will now be in consumption basket as they will start ordering on ECommerce. Online grocery shopping will leapfrog. Consumers shopping on this channel, are light users of traditional media, and spend more time in the digital space. Hence, marketing monies will move there.

4) Winning in E-Commerce: The channel drives commoditization, hence Leader brands need to justify pricing premiums. It also offers consumers choice and alternatives, hence challenger brands will do well to ride on these functionalities.

5) Working with Agency Partners: Teams can be productive even in a remote setup. Productivity will improve, and marketeers/agencies who embrace the digital collaborative way of working, will win.

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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